Reports that depositors have been pulling money out of Greek banks at the rate of 200-300 million euros a day for most of the past week have injected a sense of urgency in Athens, as another debt repayment deadline speeds closer.
A new round of talks with the Brussels group of international creditors began late because of problems at the city’s airport, adding to the atmosphere of bluff and brinkmanship:
“I think both sides are playing cat and mouse. Greece’s government has a mandate to ease austerity, while its lenders equally have one not to give any more money without reforms. How can those positions be reconciled when we know Greece is bankrupt?” said Baader Bank’s Capital Market Analyst Robert Halver.
Athens is fighting to convince the market it can make its next debt repayment, 300 million euros, on June 5. But what about the payment after that, or the following three, when the total outlay won’t be counted in hundreds of millions but nearly two billion euros?
In essence, no-one knows the answer.