European Union leaders had not discussed any elaborate plans in the event that Greece went bankrupt, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said. She was answering a question by reporters in Brussels as to whether any "Plan B" had been discussed if no agreement was reached by the end of this month.
She also urged Greece's leaders to accept the "extraordinarily generous offer from the institutions," the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), after she and French President Francois Hollande met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The meeting of eurozone finance ministers over the weekend would be decisive, she said.
The IMF and the ECB have offered at least 12 billion euros ($13.4 billion) as rescue funds over the next five months. Athens, however, has gone on the offensive against its creditors, with Tsipras asserting that the "European Union founding principles were a democracy, solidarity, equality and mutual respect. It was not based on blackmail and ultimatums."
Whereupon European Council President Donald Tusk retorted: "It is not political blackmail when we repeat day after day that we are very close to this day [June 30] when the game is over."
Chances of a deal
Meanwhile, speculation abounds on whether Greece will manage to seal a deal with its creditors needed to unlock vital bailout funds. "The chances for an agreement are about 50-50," Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told journalists in Frankfurt. He pointed out that countries with too much debt were "more likely to experience financial and economic crises."
The EU has said it is ready to provide financial aid to Athens as long as it implements crucial labor market and pension reforms. Athens has refused these conditions, with Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis calling them "clearly unviable."
mg/jil (AFP, Reuters)