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.
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.