James Forsyth

Time running out for a Greek deal warns Osborne

Time running out for a Greek deal warns Osborne
Text settings

Right now, Britain is sitting on the side-lines waiting to see if there is, to use George Osborne’s phrase, an ‘11th hour’ deal between Greece and the rest of the Eurozone. Britain isn’t part of the Greek bailout or the Eurozone so is peripheral to this process; David Cameron isn’t invited to the emergency Eurozone meeting on Tuesday. But Osborne has just told the House of Commons that the UK government expects the Eurogroup to discuss a new proposal from the Greek government at tomorrow’s meeting.

As Osborne pointed out, the problem is that the political timetable for a deal isn’t moving as fast as the financial timetable in Greece. A deal between Athens and its creditors will take weeks not days. Yet, the Greek banks will —word has it — run out of money in the next few days barring a cash injection from the European Central Bank. So unless some progress is made at tomorrow’s Eurogroup meeting, Greece will be heading for the Euro exit.