Greece has said it cannot make its debt payment to the International Monetary Fund for June. The country’s Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis spoke on Greek television Sunday. He said the country needs to reach a deal with its creditors or it will not be able to make payments.
European countries using the euro have been negotiating with Greece for four months. Greece is seeking the release of over $7 billion to avoid defaulting on its loans. The loans are repayment for a financial rescue plan for Greece valued at over $300 billion.
The day before the Interior Minister spoke, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Greece was ready to accept a “viable and long-lasting” deal with lenders. But, he said he would not accept “humiliating terms” for a new loan agreement. Mr. Tsipras is under pressure from his Syriza party not to accept additional austerity measures such as further cuts in public spending.
Earlier, the Greek government said it was in danger of running out of money soon without a deal, but said it still plans to make all required payments.
The government is under heavy pressure to reach an agreement with its Eurozone partners, including Europe’s biggest economy, Germany. However, the government opposes new austerity measures that it says will make the situation worse by preventing its recovery from years of recession: one of the worst recessions in modern times.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Greece has made “enormous strides,” or improvements, to reach a deal with its lenders to avoid bankruptcy. He said now financial institutions had to do their part.
The finance minister told Britain’s BBC that Greece had met its partners three fourth of the way.
Mr. Varoufakis added that it would be “catastrophic” if Greece left the euro currency. He said that would be the “beginning of the end for the common currency” that is shared by 19 countries.
I’m Mario Ritter.
This report is based on reporting from Reuters and VOA sources. Mario Ritter wrote it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
default – n. the failure to make a payment, such as on a loan
viable – adj. able to go forward or to be successful
humiliating – adj. to make someone feel very ashamed or foolish
austerity – n. limiting spending to as little as is possible, to lack anything that is not considered necessary
catastrophic – adj. disastrous, very bad