Greece’s economic future hangs in the balance as it prepares to start delicate negotiations with eurozone finance ministers on Wednesday.
The man who has to achieve the impossible is Yanis Varoufakis. He will ask for a new debt agreement, but without the austerity that accompanied Athens previous rescue from bankruptcy.
Unfortunately he has already upset some of the people he needs to convince by, for example, saying the eurozone was at risk of collapse, Italy’s debt is unsustainable and by bringing up Germany’s Nazi past.
The Athens government does have strong public support for its tough negotiating stance, an opinion poll on Tuesday found 74 percent of Greeks back that.
But there more relevant numbers – 18 eurozone countries against one in this standoff, and February 28, which is the date when an agreement is needed if Greece is not to run out of money.