Luxembourg: Optimism was in short supply over the prospects of a deal Thursday that might prevent Greece’s bankruptcy, as officials headed into a keenly awaited meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
With Greece fast approaching a potential default on June 30 and amid signs that Greeks are withdrawing money from their banks, officials acknowledged that a Greek exit from the euro was now being discussed by some.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Greece won’t be given a grace period if it fails to make a payment at the end of the month as Chancellor Angela Merkel said there’s still time to reach a deal on aid.
Lagarde, whose policies were labelled “criminal” last week by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, said that Greece will immediately be considered in default unless it pays about about €1.5 billion (about Dh6.28 billion) due to the fund on June 30.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis declined to specify whether he would present fresh proposals to break the impasse, but said hoped that his “ideas” would meet favour with his peers.
“The purpose is to replace costly discord with effective consensus,” he said.
Greece’s radical left-led government has been locked in discussions with its international creditors since its election in January over what economic reforms and budget cuts it needs to make to get the remaining €7.2 billion ($8.2 billion) available in its bailout fund. It needs the money to pay upcoming debts — first and foremost €1.6 billion euros due to the International Monetary Fund at the end of the month.