The blackmail of Greece’s government by its creditors pushed it closer than ever to bankruptcy this week.
Greece was due to pay £335 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday, the first of several large payments on its debt this month.
Yet the IMF, eurozone governments and European Central Bank continue to withhold £5.3 billion of bailout money they were due to pay Greece.
They demand tough pro-business “reforms” including attacks on pensions and workers’ rights, and the privatisation of state assets. But radical left party Syriza was elected in January to end such attacks.
Syriza representatives were set to meet eurozone ministers this week with proposals aiming to satisfy both their creditors and their voters.
Facing a brick wall in Europe, Syriza has sought some help elsewhere.
China loaned Greece £73 million after its state-backed firm Cosco was encouraged to bid in the privatisation of Piraeus port.
And prime minister Alexis Tsipras was set to make a highly publicised trip to Russia this week.
But Greece’s proposals to the eurozone reaffirm its pledge to stay within the European Union no matter what.
And finance minister Yannis Varoufakis told IMF boss Christine Lagarde last Sunday that Greece would keep paying its debts “ad infinitum”.
These debts were racked up by the bankers’ crisis—and the movements that led the resistance to austerity may not share Varoufakis’ willingness to keep paying forever.
Workers sacked under the last government marched in Athens last weekend, with the slogan that workers’ demands are “not negotiable”.
Pensioners protested against cuts on Wednesday of last week.
And continuing protests against a proposed gold mine in Skouries, northern Greece, lent urgency to MPs’ debates about overturning repressive laws.