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Can Greece be saved from possible economic collapse?

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will make his case for financial relief at an emergency Eurozone Summit on Monday. As the June 30 deadline approaches for Greece to make a 1.6 billion Euro debt payment, Tsipras hopes for debt relief support from the EU. Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Talley joins Hari Sreenivasan to talk about what’s at stake during Monday’s negotiations.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Now to Greece, where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is running out of time to save his country from potential economic collapse.

    Tsipras will make his case for financial relief at an emergency Eurozone summit tomorrow, hoping to head off a looming 1.6 billion euro debt payment which is due by June 30.

    Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Talley joins me to explain what's at stake in these negotiations.

    So, Ian, we all kind of have this debt fatigue, this cycle. Greece is on the brink, and Greece is not on the brink. And, well, what is at stake tomorrow? How significant is this?

  • IAN TALLEY:

    Tomorrow is a critical juncture.

    It's the heads of state meeting, after a finance ministers meeting had failed to get agreement after months of negotiations. What's at stake is a failed state in Europe. What is at stake is a potential financial contagion. A lot of people say that Europe is much better prepared.

    But, as Ben Bernanke said the mortgage crisis wasn't at hand right before the financial crisis, no one really knows how bad things could get.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Yes. We have seen video of people kind of making a run on the banks on Friday and Saturday, taking out money from ATMs and — because they're so uncertain on what's going to happen tomorrow.

  • IAN TALLEY:

    Yes.

    I think, if there's a decision tomorrow, a deal, then there could be a slow unwinding of the crisis over the months. But few people are giving that deal good odds. More likely is failure to get agreement, and Tuesday comes along, and there's basically financial martial law imposed, capital controls, so that frantic customers, markets, depositors can't take their cash out en masse, which would put Greece, already in a crisis, into a financial maelstrom.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    And what happens to their membership in the Eurozone if this debt deal doesn't goes through?

  • IAN TALLEY:

    That's a really unanswered question.

    I think a lot of people had been warning of a Greek exit. There certainly is a risk of that. Nobody is ruling that out. At the same time, there are other possibilities, where Greece could issue IOUs in — denominated in euros that could keep it within the political zone, yet within still having a financial and a political crisis.

    There is still — there is very much a risk of a Greek exit. I think another worry about, not just Greece — Greece exiting, is that being the first domino of other political factions gaining ground in Europe that also want to leave Europe. You could see the beginning of the end of the monetary union as we know it, though many analysts and economists say that that is not the likeliest option.

    There still is a desire in Greece, there still is desire in Europe to hold that monetary union together. So, while tomorrow is a critical juncture, it is not the complete endgame.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    All right, Ian Talley of The Wall Street Journal joining us from Washington, thanks so much.

  • IAN TALLEY:

    Great. Thank you.

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