The prospect of a quick fix to the Greek problem together with €15.5bn in funds disappeared at midnight as the stakes were raised for the country and for the EU.
The left-wing government of prime minister Alexis Tsipras blinked first when it sent new proposals to Brussels, but its demands for an extension of the programme and debt relief met with a swift no.
As a result, Greece will officially be in arrears in repayments to the IMF, and its second bailout programme comes to an end, having been extended for four months while the Athens government sought better terms.
A reported 20,000 people gathered in the rain outside the parliament in Athens, rallying for a yes vote in a snap poll on creditors’ proposals.
The crowd was said to be bigger than the previous night’s no rally. The government put up a website, with a page saying “They also did it” giving a list of countries, including Ireland, that have held plebiscites.
In Athens and Brussels, there was confusion about what the Greek government wants and plans.
Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was reported as promising to deliver a request for a third bailout to this morning’s planned conference call of eurozone finance ministers. It is expected to repeat yesterday’s request for €29bn from the ESM — the EU’s bailout fund — to cover the repayments on loans and bonds Greece must make this year, next year, and 2017.
The government’s deputy prime minister, Yannis Dragasakis, leader of the minor coalition party Independent Greeks, said in a TV interview that the new bid would include concessions in six areas including on pensions and labour issues.
He also said he had urged Mr Tsipras to accept the current creditors deal and call off Sunday’s referendum while there were reports that Mr Varoufakis offered to call off the vote for a new deal.
However, EU leaders are anxious that the vote go ahead as planned, with German chancellor Angela Merkel saying there would be no discussions on a new bailout until after it referendum.
Meanwhile, the banks and Athens stock market stayed closed for a second day. Many ATMs seemed to have only €50 notes with €10s running out, as €20s did the previous day. As a result, many were unable to get their allowance of €60 a day.
The government has announced that several hundred banks around the country would open today specifically to allow pensioners collect their money across the counter, as many do not have bank cards.
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