There’s usually a cheery wave from Alexis Tsipras when he goes to work.
Today, though, little to celebrate.
Greece is now the first advanced nation to default to the IMF.
An unwanted record that puts the prime minister – and his fellow Greeks – under intense pressure.
ATHENS RESIDENT, CHRISTOS ALEXAKIS, 49, TEACHER,
“I want Tsipras to see reason and find a compromise, compromise is normal for human beings. We’ve reached our limits.”
ATHENS RESIDENT, THEODOROS, 72, PENSIONER,
“This is the worst situation that Greece has ever seen, ever. Even during the World War Two wasn’t this bad.”
This wasn’t enough to avert the default on a 1.6 billion euro payment due.
In a one-page letter, Tsipras made a last-minute bid to extend Greece’s international bailout.
Crucially, it had no concessions to creditors’ demands for reforms.
And so, rejected by the Eurogroup.
But the latest word from Brussels is that new proposals are coming from Athens.
Even a hint, it’s reported, that Greece may drop its referendum this Sunday.
Eurogroup ministers were due to hold further rounds of talks.
And before those , European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, was making hints of his own.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER,
“Some important events …. are taking place in Athens … which may produce some results that won’t match the news articles you wrote today.”
The ECB was also due to meet during the day to decide whether to extend crucial emergency funding to Greece’s banking system.
In the meantime, markets appear sanguine – the DAX even bouncing back in early trading.
Mint Partners’ strategist, Bill Blain.
BILL BLAIN, STRATEGIST, MINT PARTNERS,
“Markets are actually reacting very well to the threat. They’re getting on, we have a risk mood on again today, we are seeing people going back into specialist stock markets. However, that mood could very quickly turn around if something more dramatic were to happen.”
If it goes ahead, a majority will vote NO to a deal with creditors in Sunday’s referendum, according to latest opinion polls.
But the YESSES are narrowing the gap – thousands braving pouring rain to turn out in Athens on Tuesday.
Most hoping that even stormier times might not lie ahead.