Austrian FinMin: Time for Greece to end debt standoff, but no Plan B yet

There is still time for Greece to end a debt standoff with its European partners, though no Plan B is in the offing, Austria’s finance minister said, adding that Athens must honor the terms of its bailout package.

A showdown in Brussels looms this week as Greece’s new leftist government tries to cancel a deeply unpopular bailout program with international creditors.

“I think we can reach a timely solution before the end of February if Greece wants this,” Hans Joerg Schelling of the conservative People’s Party told ORF radio in an interview broadcast on Wednesday. If not, matters would enter a “critical phase.”

“We again have a situation now in which money is being withdrawn from Greek banks. We have a situation that certain debts may not be able to be serviced, and that is of course a critical phase because the reaction on financial markets would be enormous,» he said.

He ruled out prospects of Greece’s leaving the European Union or euro zone, saying it was in the interest of both sides to avoid such scenarios.

“(But) … if it does not come to a solution then a Plan B would probably have to be drawn up in time but I am unaware of one at the moment,” he said. [Reuters]