EU’s Oettinger says Athens has five days to avoid a Grexit

Greece’s exit from the eurozone will be inevitable if Athens and its lenders do not come up with a solution within the next five days, Germany’s EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Friday.

“We will do everything up until the 30th so that the Greeks show they are prepared to reform,” Oettinger told Deutschlandfunk radio.

“A ‘Grexit’ is not our aim but would be unavoidable if there is no solution in the next five days,” he said.

Greece failed again to clinch a deal with its international creditors on Thursday, setting up a last-ditch effort on Saturday to avert a default next week or start preparing to protect the euro zone from financial market turmoil.

Oettinger said there had been notable progress in the talks between Athens and its lenders, but added there were still differences of opinion that needed to be cleared up.

Asked whether the eurozone was working on a Plan B, Oettinger said: “We don’t have a second plan, we have a goal of keeping Greece, but clearly if it’s not possible, then we wouldn’t be unprepared.”

He said the European Central Bank and the European Commission would use all available instruments to ensure that the developments in Greece did not harm other European countries.

They would also do everything to avoid a “state of emergency” in Greece, Oettinger added.