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Greeks in crisis

Greek debt crisis is feeling like Groundhog Day

Tracey Samuelson Jun 16, 2015
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You’re forgiven if you’ve not been paying attention to the daily back and forth of negotiations between Greece and its European creditors to release a bucket of bailout money Greece needs to pay its bills, avoid default and stay in the eurozone.

“It’s complete Groundhog Day,” says Mujtaba Rahman with the Eurasia Group. 

The situation looks very similar today as it did months ago — Greece and its creditors are in a standoff. The creditors want big economic reforms, like pension cuts. Greece’s prime minister was voted into office on a promise to fight those measures.

The difference now is the timing and the level of tension. Greece is running out of soft deadlines it can blow past and facing real do-or-die funding crises with payments due at the end of June and in July.

“Essentially, over several days or so, we’ve seen the creditors snap,” says Nicholas Spiro, of Spiro Sovereign Strategy. “Whilst there was very little trust between both sides to begin with, we’re pretty much seeing the end of negotiations.”

Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund bears a “criminal responsibility” for the situation. He’s heading to Russia later this week, perhaps cozying up to President Vladimir Putin – just in case.

“We’re at the 12th hour, more or less,” says Douglas Elliott, a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

However, Elliott thinks things might need to start tangibly falling apart in Greece before its leaders are able to compromise. 

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