Greek debt crisis nearing critical moment
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Steve Chiotakis: Greece’s finance minister said today he will stick with his plan for the country to have a surplus by next year — having more revenues
than the amount it spends. And he says that’s going to help the country avoid international “blackmail and humiliation” — his words. Greece’s economy is expected to contract by 5.5 percent this year.
The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant is with us now from Athens with the latest on the debt crisis there. Hi Malcolm.
Malcolm Brabant: Good morning.
Chiotakis: Why is this week so critical for Greece?
Brabant: It’s absolutely critical because Greece really is running out of money. It’s only got enough to last it until about the middle of October. And what the country desperately needs is to get its hands on the next tranche of money that was agreed during a bailout rescue package in 2010. It’s expecting to get $11 billion — that’s what it needs to pay its bills, to pay things like civil service salaries and pensions. And if it doesn’t get this money, it’s going to be in servere trouble, and there’s a real liklihood that the country will defualt.
Chiotakis: Greece’s finance minister, Malcolm, lashed out at his European neighbors today — saying that Greece was being made a scapegoat. Does he have a point?
Brabant: He’s very upset that the Greece is being dictated to by the European Union and also the International Monetary Fund. And his defiance is not going to do Greece any favors, because he’s due to have a conversation later on during the course of the day with international inspectors. And he needs to convince them that Greece is on the right path so that Greece can get the money it needs to avoid default. He’s making some noise for domestic consumption in Greece, but he’s aggravating the Europeans and also the IMF at the same time.
Chiotakis: The BBC’s Malcolm Brabant in Athens. Malcolm, thank you.
Brabant: You’re welcome, thanks.