ATHENS (Reuters) - A large majority of Greeks want Athens to reach a compromise deal with international lenders to avoid having to leave the euro zone, according to a survey published on Monday.
Euro zone finance ministers are due to meet later in the day in Brussels to discuss a raft of proposed reforms sent by Greece last week in an effort to persuade its European partners to release more funds and prevent the banks collapsing.
The head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers has said the reform outline was “helpful” but needs to be scrutinized by the country’s creditors.
Some 69.6 percent of Greeks say the country’s new leftist government should look for an “honorable compromise” to resolve the crisis, according to a Marc survey for Greek newspaper Efimerida Ton Syntakton.
Only 27.4 percent of those questioned wanted Greece to refuse any compromise, even if that meant having to leave the 19-nation euro zone and return to the old drachma currency.
Leftist leader Alexis Tsipras took power in January promising voters a radical renegotiation of an international bailout package that requires strict budget discipline and has imposed fierce austerity on Greece.
But he has faced stiff resistance from some EU allies, and although Greece secured a temporary, four-month deal with its EU/IMF lenders last month, it needs to convince them that its reform drive is feasible to obtain desperately needed funds.
Despite rifts in the ruling Syriza party because of the concessions the government has already made, polls show continued strong popularity for it.
Shut out of debt markets and with international loans frozen against a background of falling revenues, Greece could run out of cash later this month.
Asked whether Greece could possibly default, 50.4 percent said ‘yes’, while 45.5 percent saw no such risk.
The government submitted a bill last week to offer free food and electricity to thousands of poverty-stricken Greeks as its first legislative act in parliament, in a symbolic move to address what it calls a humanitarian crisis.
About 88 percent of respondents supported these initial policy steps, according to the survey.
Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Crispian Balmer