Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms : Parallels Greeks have lurched from one crisis to another in recent years and have learned to cope with uncertainty. Still, many are worried about what could happen when Greece misses a payment Tuesday.
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Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms

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Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms

Greeks Brace For The Fallout As Deadline Looms

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The bailout program keeping the Greek economy on life support ends tomorrow. Athens rejected the latest overture from its creditors this weekend and instead called a referendum, putting it to the Greek people to accept or reject the deal on offer. This morning, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said he felt a little betrayed by that and took the unusual step of publicizing the terms on the table.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER: There are no wage cuts in this package. There are no pension cuts in this package. In fact, it's a package which creates more social fairness, more growth, a more modern and transparent public administration.

SIEGEL: The banks in Greece are closed today and are likely to remain so until this vote this weekend. At ATMs, Greeks can withdraw very limited amounts of cash and that's only if they can find a machine still stocked with euros. Joanna Kakissis reports from Athens.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Laughter) We have real tickets.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: Giorgos Koronis is welcoming tourists from the U.S. and England at the old Olympic Stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. He's 50 years old and has worked for the state for 25 years, mainly at ticket counters at various tourist sites around the Greek capital. But today, he's struggling to smile. He spent the morning at the ATM in line with a few retirees from his neighborhood, including his mother.

GIORGOS KORONIS: (Foreign language spoken).

KAKISSIS: "Sixty euros - that's how much I pulled out," he says. That's just under $70 and it's the limit for Greek bank depositors. "But maybe tomorrow," he says, "I will only be able to pull out half of that." He's worried; many Greeks are. He's a little angry at the government for asking him to vote in a referendum next Sunday on a bailout deal he says he doesn't understand.

KORONIS: (Through interpreter) I really hope it doesn't lead to us getting out of the euro. I'm afraid we're all going to go hungry if that happens. But even now with the euro, all these cuts, I keep worrying my salary will be cut.

KAKISSIS: A group of American high school students from Saline, Mich., and their chaperones, are at the stadium. They arrived in Greece over the weekend. They can theoretically withdraw all the cash they want since their bank is not in Greece, but many ATMs are empty. Dane Hoffman, who's 17, says they spent the weekend in the ancient city of Olympia where the Olympics were born. One ATM had a line filled with worried Greeks, he says.

DANE HOFFMAN: I mean, in Olympia, in that long line of people, some of the people in front of us were withdrawing all the cash that they could out of the ATMs, so...

KAKISSIS: One of the chaperones, 46-year-old Kurt Trainor, says shop owners in Olympia asked the Americans to pay in euros.

KURT TRAINOR: They're asking you not to use your credit card just because they don't know what's going to happen, so they'd rather have you use euro.

KAKISSIS: So they wanted you pay in cash so they have the cash.

TRAINOR: Correct. They were asking just because they didn't know what's going to happen and they wanted to be able to pay their workers. That was their main concern.

KAKISSIS: Economist Platon Tinios says the problems will just get bigger as the week goes on. Tomorrow is a milestone of sorts. That's when the Greek government is going to miss a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

PLATON TINIOS: It's like an ice cube compared to the iceberg, which is waking behind us, which is the overall default. It's an important milestone. Not paying the IMF could place Greece in the company of pariah nations, such as Somalia, Sudan and so on, but we probably won't get there straight away.

KAKISSIS: Greece's bailout ends tomorrow at midnight Greek time, and there's no new deal on the table for credit to tide Greece over. Manolis Spathis, a 29-year-old unemployed economist, says there should be no new deal on the table. He was one of thousands outside Parliament this evening urging Greeks to vote no in next Sunday's referendum. He says there's only one way for Greece to get out of this economic mess.

MANOLIS SPATHIS: The only way is to get out of the euro.

KAKISSIS: You're not worried about the consequences.

SPATHIS: I'm unemployed and I don't own my house. I have to pay rent, so, I mean, in six months from now, if the situation doesn't change, I will be homeless.

KAKISSIS: He's not alone. Many Greeks are frustrated with the damage that eurozone-imposed austerity has wrought on the country. But public opinion polls show that most Greeks still want to keep the euro as their currency. For NPR News, I'm Joanna Kakissis in Athens.

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