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A Chaotic Start to the Week for Greece

Monday, 6 Feb 2012 | 10:23 AM ET
The Parthenon in Greece
Scott E. Barbour | Getty Images
The Parthenon in Greece

The situation in Greece went seriously weird this morning when European Union officials and Greek officials couldn’t seem to agree whether Greece had missed a deadline to agree to austerity measures required to secure another rescue package.

Indeed, they couldn’t even agree whether there was a deadline at all.

“No, there is no deadline,” an anonymous Greek politician said.

But EU officials in Brussels insisted that the deadline had passed.

“We have gone beyond the deadline already,” European Commission spokesman Amadeu Altafaj saidin a news briefing.

If they can’t agree whether there is a deadline, what are the odds that Greeks and the so-called “troika” of rescue fund lenders—the European Commission, European Central Bank , and International Monetary Fund — can agree on an actual deal to prevent Greece from defaulting?

There is one deadline no one can deny: March 20. That’s when a 14.5 billion euro ($19 billion) bond comes due. Greece doesn’t have the funds to make the bond payment without access to the rescue package.

“Greece has until the March 20th payments, so all the deadlines we keep hearing about are mostly negotiating ploys,” the pseudonymous blogger Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge explains.

So we can probably expect a lot more confusing messages to emerge out of Europe before we get final clarity on whether Greece will get its bailout.

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