The historic Greece is about to fall… hard.
The European Central Bank is expected to end emergency lending to Greece’s banks on Sunday – a move that could lead to its exit from the euro.
The European Central Bank is expected to end emergency lending to Greece’s banks on Sunday, the BBC understands.
Well-placed sources told BBC economics editor Robert Peston a decision to end the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) would be made by the ECB’s governing council later on Sunday.
Greek banks depend on ELA funds daily.
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said his government would consider overnight what measures to take “to minimise the burden on our people”.
Cutting the ECB lifeline could push Greece out of the euro.
Such an ECB cut would mean “Europe has failed”, Mr Varoufakis told the BBC’s World this Weekend.
It would mean Europe had “failed in its duty to preserve in parallel a democratic process and a monetary union”, he said. “It is a dark hour for Europe.”
The lenders have “not met Greece even a quarter of the way”, he complained.
The government would consider “what can be done to minimise the burden on our people from Europe’s refusal to grant us democratic rights”.
A BBC reporter in Athens says long queues are forming at bank ATMs.
The EU-IMF bailout for heavily indebted Greece expires on Tuesday and talks have broken down.
Greek banks would find themselves in serious straits as soon as Monday if the ECB cut the ELA funding, Robert Peston says.
Greece will probably have to announce a bank holiday on Monday, pending the introduction of capital controls, he says.