Greece’s decision to delay a 300-million-euro payment to the IMF today and instead try to meet all June’s payments at the end of the month was probably an act of bravado for domestic consumption but it also clarifies things.
One way or another, the end game for Greece approaches.
Last night, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras left talks with senior EU officials in Brussels saying a deal with creditors was “within sight” and that Athens would make a payment due to the IMF on Friday.
The smart money has always been on a last-minute deal being done to keep Greece afloat with Athens making most of the concessions and the euro zone and IMF bending only a little. But the chances of a car crash are growing as each day passes.
The Greek government states that a cash-for-reforms deal with the EU and IMF can be finalized in the next 10 days but the other side is much less optimistic and there was no sign of a breakthrough at the EU summit in Riga which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had been pinning some hope on.
Greece’s European lenders have played down hopes of a swift end to aid negotiations and said talks must speed up before the country runs out of cash. That contrasted sharply with optimism in Athens where a series of top officials asserted that a deal was just days away.
In an epic late-night talk show appearance, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his government was nearing a cash-for-reforms deal with its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund that would help it meet debt repayments next month.
Greece made a 750 million euros repayment to the International Monetary Fund a day ahead of schedule on Monday but it is not clear precisely how much money Athens has left in its coffers.