ATHENS Prime Minister Lucas Papademos told Greeks they face a collapse in living standards and shortages of fuel and medicine if lawmakers on Sunday reject a multi-billion euro bailout deal and the country defaults on its debt.
Papademos spoke on Saturday in a televised address to the nation before parliament votes on a deeply unpopular austerity bill to clinch a 130-billion-euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
"This agreement will decide the country's future," he said. "We are just a breath away from ground zero."
"A disorderly default would set the country on a disastrous adventure," Papademos said. "Living standards would collapse and it would lead sooner or later to an exit from the euro."
Failing to adopt the bill, he said, "would disrupt imports of fuel, medicine and machinery."
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Writing by Matt Robinson)