Deadlines Approach

Storm Clouds Over Athens

akropolis lightning dpa
Stormy weather ahead for Greece.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Greece needs to reach a deal with its European partners if it is to avoid exiting the euro zone. That is something that could have unforeseen consequences.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The eurogroup of finance ministers are meeting on Wednesday.
    • The Greeks are to present a four-point plan, to allow them some breathing space.
    • The Germans are unlikely to accept any deal that does not include commitments to wide-reaching reforms.
  • Audio

    Audio

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It was a sign of just how nervous Europe has become about the prospects of a Greek exit from the euro zone.

On Monday the British prime minister, David Cameron, said that officials at the finance ministry and the Bank of England had held a meeting that focused on preparations for a possible Grexit.

The worst-case scenario remains a real possibility. Over the past few weeks, the fronts appeared to harden between Greece’s new leftist government and their European partners.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since Alexis Tsipras, the leader of radical left alliance Syriza, became Greek prime minister in late January, riding a campaign that vowed to end austerity and renegotiate the country’s bailout deal.

Mr. Tsipras and his new finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, embarked on a whirlwind tour of European capitals last week, but failed to persuade key gatekeepers, particularly those in Germany, to provide them with debt relief.

Greece has a debt burden of more than 175 percent of its annual GDP, which the government argues is unsustainable.

After meeting with German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, Mr. Varoufakis could not even agree with his counterpart’s assertion that they had “agreed to disagree.”

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