June 2015 – GREECE – It looks like Greece is going to default. In Saturday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis left a meeting of eurozone finance ministers after failing to get an agreement to extend the current bailout deal until after a referendum next week. Late Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras made a surprise announcement of a referendum to be held in Greece next Sunday, July 5, to vote on the reforms proposed to Greece by its creditors as part of a possible bailout extension. The most imminent money owed by Greece to creditors is €1.6 billion owed to the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday, a payment it looks like Greece will now miss. The question now, it appears, is what happens next and whether this missed payment sets the table for a “Grexit,” which would see Greece leave the EU.
According to Reuters, Varoufakis told journalists as he left the meeting that, “It’s a sad day for Europe.” Eurogroup ministers said they would meet without Greece later on Saturday evening to discuss how to handle the fallout from an expected Greek debt default on Tuesday, according to Reuters. A report from Reuters said, “With most Greek banks closed for the weekend, there was no sign of panic on the streets of Athens. Government officials said there was no plan to impose capital controls that would limit withdrawals.” Ahead of Tsipras’ announcement, a poll of Greek citizens indicated that 57% of the 1,000 people polled showed they want Greece to reach a deal; 29% of respondents indicated they preferred a break with creditors.
The Financial Times, however, reported that a phone conference was scheduled for Sunday morning between the European Central Bank and the Bank of Greece to discuss implementing capital controls — or limiting the ability for money in Greek banks to be withdrawn. According to the FT, one option would be for Greece to declare a bank holiday between now and the July 5 referendum. Varoufakis, however, has told Reuters that banks should remain open between now and then. Since Tsipras was voted into power in late January, it’s been a long road of headline after headline on whether or not Greece would make its payments or find some middle ground with its creditors. And while we’ve certainly heard that negotiations between Greece and its European creditors have broken down before, this time looks different. –Business Insider