Reports in the German media have suggested eurozone officials are drawing up a backup plan in case of a Greek default. As the cash-strapped nation struggles to reach a deal with creditors, it could face capital controls.
Germany "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper reported on Tuesday that eurozone officials were preparing an emergency plan to head off economic chaos in Greece if the nation failed to strike a last-minute deal with its creditors this week.
The daily said the plan included the imposition of capital controls on the weekend with a view to preventing a likely run on Greek banks.
European leaders have meanwhile stepped up their warnings that time was running out for Athens to clinch a deal that would unlock 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion) in further bailout funds in exchange for a tougher set of reforms.
Finance ministers in the Eurogroup are due to meet Thursday to assess the state of fraught negotiations between Greece and its lenders - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Not a moment to waste
"We're not far from a solution, but as long as there is no solution there could be a crisis," French President Francois Hollande commented, adding that everything possible needed to be done to keep Greece in the eurozone.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday his government was seeking a viable, long-term deal.
"It's crucial to end this vicious cycle and to not be forced to go to a deal, which in six months' time will bring us back to the same point," Tsipras insisted. He noted the main factor blocking an agreement were differences in view between the IMF and European creditors on debt restructuring.
hg/cjc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)