EU officials hold first talks on Greek default

 
Jessica Morris
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The Greek parliament in Athens (Source: Getty)

Senior Eurozone officials have met to discuss the possibility of a Greek default for the first time, according to media reports.

Sources told Reuters that they had talked about a number of scenarios in Bratislava, Slovakia yesterday, including a potential default on the €1.6bn (£1.2bn) payment the cash-strapped country must make to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the end of this month.

And while the talks - which took place ahead of the Eurogroup meeting - concluded that a deal next week would be the best of three possible scenarios, it was also the least likely.

Earlier this month Greece delayed a €300m (£216m) repayment to the IMF - one of several installments in June which Athens has now bundled into one transfer due at the end of this month.

It's been locked into high stakes talks with creditors - in order to unlock funding and stave off bankruptcy - since February. However, progress has been slow.

Read more: What will happen if Greece defaults on its loan repayment to the IMF?

Today Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said he doesn't think European politicians will let Greece leave the Eurozone.

"I don't believe that any sensible European bureaucrat or politician will go down that road," he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

And on whether he thinks the European Union and the International Monetary Fund were bluffing: "I hope they are".

However, the IMF team responsible for brokering a deal between Greece and its lenders walked out of talks on Thursday, after failing to may progress.

"The ball is very much in Greece's court," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told journalists later.

"We are well away from an agreement," he added. "There are major differences between us in most key areas. There has been no progress in narrowing these differences recently."

Two key areas of contention are Greece’s budget surplus as well as its plans for debt restructuring.

Read more: IMF pessimism on Greece cools hot day for markets

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