It is clear from the start that this is not one of the European Commission’s regular midday press briefings: All the seats are taken in the conference room at the European Commission’s Berlaymont building, as the Brussels-based journalists wait for Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Reporters who have come in with just the usual two minutes to spare before the press conference’s designated start are confined to standing along the stairs leading to the podium.
It is the day before the bailout programme for Greece is due to end, as well as the day before Greece is due to pay back a debt of 1.6 billion euro ($1.8 billion) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a payment which according to Reuters news agency, Greece says it will not make.
And it is two days after months-long talks between Greece and the other 18 members of the euro zone broke down, following a rejection of Greece’s request to extend the bailout programme until after a referendum planned for July 5.
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(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service)