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.
Another day of claim and counter-claim.
The Greek government said a deal with its lenders had reached the drafting stage and would not require wages and pensions cuts or reforms to the VAT regime. It didn’t take long for euro zone officials to retort that this simply was not the case and that the two sides remained far apart.
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.
We’ve been saying it for a week or more and it’s now confirmed – the lack of an economic reform programme forthcoming from Athens means today’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga can achieve no breakthrough despite glimmers of the two sides moving closer.
Greece sent an economic reform plan to its EU and IMF creditors overnight, according to an EU source, and euro zone finance ministers will this morning see the list which is a condition for extending the country’s bailout programme by four months.