The 'Big No' Looms as Greek Clash with Troika Reaches Boiling Point

The Greek Central Bank (BOG) on Wednesday warned that if the country’s Syriza-led government and international creditors fail to reach a bailout deal, Greece would default and ultimately be forced to exit the European Union.

The dire predictions of “uncontrollable crisis” came from a report by the bank, which was published Wednesday as negotiations between Greece and its creditors, known as the Troika—comprising the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank, and the European Commission—continued with little progress.

But Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras remained steadfast in his vow to reject austerity-driven deals, stating during a press conference Wednesday morning that “[w]e have only one option and that is to find a solution that will be accepted and passed by the government and the parliament… If we do not have an honorable compromise, we will once again say the big no.”

Zoe Konstantopoulou, Greek Parliamentary speaker, dismissed the bank’s warnings as “totally unacceptable” and returned the report to BOG president Yiannis Stournaras.

The country’s bailout program runs out at the end of the month, at which point Greece will be expected to repay $1.8 billion to the IMF. Without a financial assistance agreement with the Troika, it is unclear that Greece will be able to pay.

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Eurozone ministers are expected to hold short discussions with Syriza leaders on Thursday, but observers are not expecting them to bring results. Meanwhile, protests are planned Wednesday night in Athens.

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