In a public plea to his country to remain calm, PM Alexis Tsipras has again urged Greeks to vote "no" in Sunday's referendum. At the same time, a major financial lifeline has declared Greece to be in default.
In a televised public address on Friday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called on Greeks to "go to the ballot calmly" and to reject what he called fearmongering. He reiterated earlier statements that Sunday's controversial referendum on whether or not to go ahead with creditors' proposals for reforms does not mean the country's place in the eurozone and EU is at stake.
Tsipras urged Greeks to say "no" to blackmail and ultimatums and to decide their future without panic.
IMF report shows downslide of Greek economy
He also spoke of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report released on Friday which he said proved Greek debt cannot be repaid as the situation stands.
"The IMF published a report on Greece's economy which is a great vindication for the Greek government as it confirms the obvious - that Greek debt is not sustainable," he said.
The report on Greece's finances illustrated a steady deterioration since Tsipras and his anti-austerity coalition took power at the beginning of the year.
Berlin took a different view of the report, saying that it proves Greece "by no means" automatically needs debt restructuring in order to survive. Michael Jäger, a spokesman for the finance ministry, said that there was no way one could look at the report "and deduce that a debt restructuring is imperatively required."
Greece in default
The bad news mounted for Greece on Friday, with the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) declaring the country nominally in default.
The EFSF, the fund which has provided Greece with the vast majority of its emergency loans, officially declared "an event of default by Greece." The statement continued, however, that they had decided not to immediately demand repayment of the loans, a move analysts had worried could trigger a sudden Greek exit from the eurozone.
es/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)