In a last-ditch attempt to not be squeezed out of the eurozone, the beleaguered Greek government asked for a three-year loan on Wednesday. The loan is for an undisclosed amount, though some economists have speculated that Greece might need €50 billion ($55 billion) or more, and was requested from the eurozone’s bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism. The request is the latest event in a long string of financially tumultuous moves the country has made in the past few weeks.
The new request comes after Greece was publicly chided for not presenting a clear financial proposal on Tuesday after its referendum rejected Europe’s terms for a new bailout, disappointing European finance ministers and causing the country to slip toward being kicked out of the common currency. Alex Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, told the European Parliament in France on Wednesday that his country is determined to reach a “viable agreement” with its creditors—but he also added that Greece has been “transformed into a laboratory for testing austerity over the past years” and that the Greek crisis is a fundamentally European problem. Tsipras assured the European Parliament that he is not seeking a “rupture” with Europe. Rather, he is looking to broker “a socially just and economically viable agreement without the mistakes of the past, that caused a recessionary spiral.”
While the French government has expressed hope for Greek salvation—French prime minister optimistically said Wednesday that a deal between the floundering country and its creditors is “within grasp”—other countries are not so positive. According to the New York Times, German chancellor Angela Merkel has indicated that she would oppose giving any additional money to Greece through the eurozone’s bailout fund until the country is able to scramble together a comprehensive overhaul plan that is acceptable to the rest of Europe.
It’s unclear what economic changes Greece is willing to make in exchange for the loan it’s requested from the bailout fund, though it has gestured vaguely to plans about overhauling the country’s tax and pension systems. The Greek government will reveal more specifics about its request tomorrow.