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Greek central bank warns of uncontrollable crisis

The Greek central bank has said all sides concerned need to go the extra mile to prevent Greece from defaulting and dropping out of the eurozone. It added that even the country's membership in the EU was at stake.

The Bank of Greece warned Wednesday that failure to conclude bailout talks with the country's creditors would lead to immediate default.

It said a deal with international lenders was "of the utmost importance to fend off the immediate risk to the economy," adding that failure to strike a last-ditch agreement would most likely mean the country's exit from the euro and also from the European Union.

The central bank insisted such a scenario would then "snowball into an uncontrollable crisis, with great risks for the banking system and financial stability."

Locking horns

As Eurogroup finance ministers prepare for another crucial meeting on Greece on Thursday, Athens' creditors – the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission – are waiting for better reform proposals from the Tsipras government, which could unlock 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in

further bailout funds

.

Eurogroup Chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem insisted Wednesday that any predictions about a so-called Grexit were premature. "We're all jumping to conclusions and that we should not do."

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, however, provided no ray of hope for a quick deal as he criticized creditors for their insistence on slashing pensions.

"This insistence on cutting pensions is incomprehensible, and if Europe insists on that fixation it must accept the cost of a development that will benefit no one in Europe," Tsipras told parliamentarians.

hg/pad (AFP, dpa)

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