The country faces a critical few weeks as it struggles to meet bailout conditions amid rising pressures in Germany and the US
In the week of Groundhog Day, it seemed entirely appropriate: Greek farmers, many on tractors, have once again been blockading roads and border posts amid mounting signs that the country long at the epicenter of Europe’s debt woes is — once again — teetering toward crisis.
Protesting farmers have been a regular feature of the social unrest that has sporadically gripped Greece. It is now more than seven years since the Greek financial crisis erupted and the debt drama has often had a deja vu quality about it.
Eclipsed last year by the UK’s vote to exit the EU, and US President Donald Trump’s equally unlikely electoral victory, audience interest in the nation’s epic struggle to keep bankruptcy at bay has inevitably waned.
Yet out of the spotlight, away from the headlines, a perfect storm is brewing.
Bailout negotiations between Athens and its creditors have stalled. The possibility of Grexit, or euro exit, has re-emerged and bond yields have spiked. The yield on two-year Greek government bonds has soared from 6 percent to 10 percent in less than two weeks as spooked investors have dumped their holdings, and the shrill rhetoric last seen at the height of the crisis in 2015 has returned.
Analysts sensing dangerous deadlock are sounding the alarm — an alarm that the embattled Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was expected to raise in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders in Malta on Friday.