As the midnight deadline for Greece to repay ¬1.6bn fast approaches, last-minute efforts are underway to avert a chain of events that could lead to Grexit.
Above: Economics Editor Paul Mason explains the latest on the Greek crisis. See his video blog from Monday here.
The head of the European Commission offered an eleventh hour deal to the Greek government on Tuesday on condition Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sends a written acceptance of the deal’s terms.
Mr Tsipras is understood to have spoken on the phone with Mr Juncker and European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi.
Under the deal, an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers would be convened to approve an aid payment to prevent it from defaulting. Mr Juncker was also reported to have dangled the prospect of renegotiating debt repayment deadlines if Mr Tsipras agreed to the latest deal.
A Greek government officials told Reuters that there has been “a lot of movement in the last few hours, in the direction of the new proposal”. Greek media were also reporting that Mr Tsipras was considering the last-minute offer.
The news offers hope that a deal can be found on Tuesday, despite an acrimonious freefall in relations between Greece and its creditors at the weekend.
Greece walked away from the negotiating table on Friday, with Mr Tsipras announcing that a referendum would be held on bailout terms that the Greek government has called “unviable”.
On Monday Mr Juncker delivered an extraordinarily strongly-worded statement about the crisis, accusing the Greek government of “egotism” and “tactical games”. The EC president urged the Greek people to vote for the bailout terms, saying they should not “commit suicide out of fear of death”.
That evening anti-austerity protesters rallied in Athens in support of Mr Tsipras, with Greek people telling Channel 4 News that under the Eurozone terms they “have no future” (see video, below).
And the war of words has continued despite apparent headway on achieving a deal. On Tuesday Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis accused the Eurogroup of trying to deny the Greek people the right to vote on the bailout terms.
“What is important now, is to ensure with sobriety, security and harmony that the will of the Greek people is heard on Sunday (in the referendum),” he said.
“It is a right that the Eurogroup tried to take it away by closing the banks. We are ensuring this right, as is demanded by the Greek state.
“That is our goal, to allow the Greek people to express their opinion on the creditors’ proposal and from next Monday, the very next day, to go forward and seek the construction of a viable solution for the Greek economy and society.
“We are the ones saying yes to the euro, but to say yes to the euro, we need a viable solution. The problem with the creditors’ proposal is that it is not viable.”
Banks have been closed in Greece under capital controls implemented by Mr Tsipras on Sunday. The banks were opened for pensioners who do not have cash cards on Tuesday, but closed for all other business. Cash machines have been limited to withdrawals of €60.