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Two-week countdown for Greece

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 01:55

There's been another warning from Greece that it won't be able to meet its debt repayments. As Ciara Lee reports a senior ruling party official says Athens won't be able to pay the IMF on June 5 meaning EU lenders have two weeks to prevent a default.

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Public sector doctors and nurses walked off their jobs this week and joined hundreds of pensioners rallying in Athens. It was a message to the government not to give in to EU lenders and stick to pre-election pledges to increase healthcare spending. Easier said than done for a country that is two weeks away from running out of money. Greece says it won't be able to repay an IMF debt on June 5 without more aid. The government insists a cash-for-reforms deal is only days away. But EU and IMF lenders aren't so sure. IG's Alastair McCaig (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, IG MARKET COMMENTATOR, SAYING: "It's difficult to believe at this final hour that there is going to be too much more flexibility that they will show them unfortunately. You do feel that all the changes and the willingness to compromise is unfortunately going to be on the side of Greece than on the ECB." The threat of a default is keeping investors on their toes. And for some, preparations for a Grexit scenario are already underway, says Admiral Markets' Darren Sinden (SOUNDBITE) (English) DARREN SINDEN, MARKET COMMENTATOR, ADMIRAL MARKETS, SAYING: "You'd be silly not to have drawn up some contingency plans if you have got exposure to Greece, just as people did - if you want to draw parallels to the UK when there was a chance that Scotland was going to become independent - businesses had to plan for that. But I think most people take the view that there won't be an Armageddon, that there will be a solution." Negotiations between Greece and its lenders have stumbled on Athens' unwillingness to cut state wages or reform pensions. Talks are being held on the sidelines of a summit in Riga between Greece, Germany and France. But how to satisfy lenders while also appeasing workers at home remains the billion euro question.

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Two-week countdown for Greece

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 01:55