ATHENS – As he has been saying for months without being right yet, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he expects international lenders will agree to a deal even though both sides are so far apart an emergency European Union summit has been called for June 22.
Greece will default if it doesn’t come up with 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) on June 30 to pay a series of bundled options due the International Monetary Fund, which, along with the EU and European Central Bank makes up the EU-IMF-ECB troika that in the last five years has put up 240 billion euros ($270.34 billion) in two bailouts.
One of the last remaining payments, 7.2-billion euros ($8.1 billion) is being held back until Tsipras imposes austerity measures he campaigned against and has rejected. Despite howls from the lenders he is intransigent and has put Greece on the edge of a catastrophe, he keeps smiling and predicting a deal although there’s no evidence of that.
There will be a solution to the Greek debt crisis that will allow the country to return to growth while staying in the Eurozone, Tsipras said although he offered no new proposals to break the deadlock and no explanation why he thinks there will be an agreement at the same time the lenders say there’s none in sight.
Tsipras, who has refused to make almost any concessions while demanding money in return, said he expected a good result at the emergency meeting although Greece has done almost nothing since getting a four-month bailout extension on Feb. 20 to come up with a list of acceptable reforms.
“The leaders summit on Monday is a positive development on the road toward a deal,” Tsipras’s office said in a statement. “All those who are betting on crisis and terror scenarios will be proven wrong.”
“There will be a solution based on respecting EU rules and democracy which would allow Greece to return to growth in the euro,” he said, baffling critics who said he is whistling through a graveyard.
Greeks this week alone have withdrawn more than two billion euros ($2.26 billion) from their bank accounts and more than 40 billion euros ($45.25 billion) in the last eight months, more than 25 percent of all the money in the institutions.
That has led the ECB to keep injecting emergency funds into the Greek banks but if a deal falls through then the rescue cash could too, leaving the banks on the edge of insolvency.
Greek savers pulled more than 1 billion euros from banks on June 18,three senior banking sources told Reuters, with the pace of withdrawals gaining speed since talks between the government and its creditors collapsed last weekend.
“There are no lines or panic, it has been a quiet and gradual phase of withdrawals,” one of the bankers said. “They are due to worries whether a deal will be clinched with the country’s lenders.”
The central bank declined comment.
Fears are mounting that the government of Tsipras’ Radical Left SYRIZA party and its partner the Independent Greeks (ANEL) will have to impose capital controls and the BBC said on June 19 there was talk that the banks might not open on June 22, the day of the emergency summit, to stem the outflow of deposits.
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