Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is giving an interview on the referendum that Greece will have this coming weekend.
Bloomberg is reporting that Tsipras maintained that Greece will keep the euro currency because of the high cost of what has become popularly known as Grexit. He said that the country’s creditors don’t plan to throw Greece out of the euro.
However, the are major financial difficulties ahead. The country’s bailout program is set to end on Tuesday, and it will likely miss a payment to the IMF. The referendum is not planned to take place until Sunday.
Banks are closed this week due to the lack of bailout extension, and Tsipras said they will reopen after the referendum next weekend.
Bloomberg reports that Tsipras said the Greeks will survive even without a bailout program, and that Greece won’t abandon democracy because its bailout program ends.
Tsipras also hinted that if voters say YES (to the creditors’ proposals) in the referendum, he may resign.
He also said the government will go with whatever the Greek people decide at the ballot box, which provides the government with a stronger negotiating position (although observers question if that is true).
Greece’s creditors gave the government an ultimatum, and would prefer that Greece not hold a referendum, Tsipras said. He maintained his line that Greece has done everything in its power to reach a compromise with its creditors, but the creditors did not give the Greeks any solutions.
He also noted that it was the Eurogroup, not Greece, that abruptly cut off negotiations last week.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief-of-staff, Peter Altmaier, made a speech at the same time as Tsipras. He said that there will be no new financial aid for Greece until after the referendum.
However, he also said “the door isn’t closed” for Greece.
This post continues to be updated.