The rhetoric, threats, and promises continue to increase as Greece, its international creditors (i.e. Troika), and its potential pivot partners from Russia to China to Iran all vie for attention.
Greek FinMin Varoufakis 'promised' Christine Lagarde this morning that Greece will repay the IMF loan on April 9th (though was unable to explain how)...
Though it is unclear where he will get the cash from...
Even as energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis denounced Greece’s international creditors for treating the country with "unbelievable prejudice and as a colony." As The Guardian reports,
With Greece's cashflow problem deteriorating with every passing day, rumours of Athens' overtures towards the unlikeliest of sources have the sprung up. The latest comes form the country's former prime minister, Atonis Samaras.
Mr Samaras has accused the current incumbent of “sending his cousin to Iran to ask the Tehran government to buy Greek bonds”.
“When you are in Europe and ask Chinese, Iranians, Russians to finance your deficit, don’t you send a signal to the rest of Europe that you are not really a serious pro-European?," was the refrain of the leader of the much diminished New Democracy party.
The rumours remain unsubstantiated for now. An official Greek visit to Tehran is not yet in the pipeline, but the search for foreign bondholders is likely to continue. The European Central Bank has banned domestic banks from increasing their holdings of government debt - a stance that pushed Athens to seek out alternative willing investors.
With the clock ticking on its cash crunch, both sides will be hoping for a denouement to the saga before Mr Tsipras returns to Moscow in May. The Greek premier will be marking Russian Victory Day - a celebration of the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the Second World War.
EU officials have suggested privately that Greek prime minister Tsipras should jettison the far left of his governing Syriza party to make a bailout agreement possible with one senior official exclaiming "this government cannot survive." As The FT reports,
Eurozone authorities’ frustration with Greece has grown so intense that a change in the current Athens government’s make-up, however far-fetched, has become a frequent topic of conversation on the sidelines of bailout talks.
Many officials — up to and including some eurozone finance ministers — have suggested privately that only a decision by Alexis Tsipras, Greek prime minister, to jettison the far left of his governing Syriza party can make a bailout agreement possible.
The idea would be for Mr Tsipras to forge a new coalition with Greece’s traditional centre-left party, the beleaguered Pasok, and To Potami (The River), a new centre-left party that fought its first general election in January.
“Tsipras has to decide whether he wants to be prime minister or the leader of Syriza,” said one European official.
A senior official in a eurozone finance ministry added: “This government cannot survive.”
Members of Syriza’s moderate wing admit there is a problem with the Left Platform, the official internal opposition that represents about a third of the party and controls enough MPs to bring down the government if it were to rebel in a parliamentary vote.
With 68% of Europeans seeing Greece as a drag on the EU economy...
Perhaps Greece's last best hope is the pivot to an increasingly interested Russia or China (or even Iran) because even the rost case scenario inside the EU could make Brussels very uncomfortable...
One person briefed on the EU’s negotiating stance said concern was rising in Brussels that if the continued stalemate forced Greece to impose capital controls to prevent a bank run, this could strengthen Syriza’s populist appeal rather than sparking disillusionment among voters.