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Time & patience running out for Greece

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 02:11

Euro zone leaders will tell Greece that time and patience are running out for its leftist-led government to implement agreed reforms. As David Pollard reports a cash crunch is now looming which could force the country out of the single currency.

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Most people don't like Mondays. Angela Merkel says she can't wait, at least for the next one. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING (ON TSIPRAS BERLIN VISIT): "I have invited the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to Berlin on Monday and I'm looking forward to his visit. We will have time to talk to each other in detail and perhaps also to argue ...." A moment of levity amid a grim tone over Greece. The warnings coming thick and fast. From the German chancellor: Greece must take its responsibilities seriously if things are going to work out. From her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble: the clock's ticking. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING: "We have the impression, and everyone who is dealing with the question shares the impression, that time is running out for Greece. They obviously have certain problems." Money is also running out. As Greece struggles to meet commitments due this month, Greek banks are said to have seen 300 million euros of deposit outflows on Wednesday. That's the highest in a single day since Greece's February 20th deal with the EU to extend its bailout. It leads to talk of Greece needing capital controls. While, in the background, is still the worry of a member state leaving the EU. An unmapped path, says Royal London Asset Management fund manager Andrea Williams. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ANDREA WILLIAMS, FUND MANAGER, ROYAL LONDON ASSET MANAGEMENT, SAYING: ''Let's hope there's some compromise because people kind of say 'oh well, it's a lot smaller than it was and the firewalls are in place, and it doesn't really matter' - but we don't actually know because we've never had a situation where a country has left a currency. So nobody can say with any confidence what the knock-on effect might be. '' Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, hit back on Wednesday at what he saw as EU interference in a new bill to ease the country's humanitarian crisis. Talks in Athens with EU, IMF and ECB officials are said to be making little or no progress. And Tsipras has asked for meetings with EU leaders on the fringe of this week's Brussels summit. Though they're making warnings on that too - that such talks can't get around reform pledges Greece made under the February bailout agreement.

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Time & patience running out for Greece

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 02:11