ATHENS – A breakdown in debt relief talks between Greece and international lenders is bringing back talk of the country being forced out of the Eurozone.
But there is still some optimism a last-ditch deal can be struck before the country runs out of money next month as much of the last of what’s left of 240 billion euros ($272 billion) in two bailouts from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) trickles out.
The chances of a so-called Grexit havae risen but a compromise agreement between Athens and its European partners is still possible, Greek media and investment banks said, Reuters reported.
They said it’s up to the ECB which must decide on Feb. 18y whether to extend Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) funds to Greek banks to keep them in cash while the crisis unfolds and as customers continue a mini-run and are yanking out billions of euros in deposits.
“Hard ultimatum from the EU, 96 hours until an agreement or an accident,” ran the headline of Greek daily Eleftheros Typos.
It was referring to the end-of-the-week deadline set by Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the group of Eurozone finance ministers, for Athens to request an extension to its bailout or the aid will end.
Investment bank Barclays said this had raised the risk that Greece would leave the euro zone and raised the prospect that the new SYRIZA-led leftist government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would eventually have to call a referendum on whether to accept a deal with strings or ditch the euro.