(Deutsche Welle) — In a bid to end of five-month standoff with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Union (EU) Commission, and the European Central Bank, Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday that he was willing to accept unpalatable compromises to secure a deal, provided he gets debt relief in return.
The EU and IMF are demanding tough reforms in exchange for giving Athens the 7.2 billion euros still remaining in its international rescue package.
“If we arrive at a viable accord, even if it is a difficult compromise, we will take up the challenge because our only criteria is to get out of the crisis,” Tsipras was quoted as telling Greek officials in a government statement.
Preparation for default
Athens is under huge pressure to strike an agreement to unlock the vital bailout funds in the coming days, with top eurozone officials saying on Friday that they were preparing the ground for an Athens default.
“In discussions, a default was mentioned as one of the scenarios that can happen when everything goes wrong,” a eurozone official told AFP news agency.
Road to ‘Grexit’
The months-long saga over Greece’s refusal to submit reforms will come to a head at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday, by which point a deal is necessary in order to give national parliaments time to approve it before the bailout expires on June 30.
Within the last 10 days of June, Greece also faces a huge 1.6 billion euro payment to the IMF and a further 3.4 billion euros to the European Central Bank.
Although no specifics are known regarding what would happen should Greece fail to make the payments, Athens could potentially see the introduction of capital controls, closure of banks, and the government issuing IOUs to keep the public sector financially viable.
The drastic measures would also pave the way for Greece’s from the euro – a possibility which officials are ruling out for now.