PARIS — Just a few weeks ago, fears that Greece might exit the euro union subsided when Europe extended its financial bailout. But as a new war of words escalates between Athens and its creditors, talk of a “Grexit” is heating up.
In the last several days, European and American banks, think tanks and ratings agencies have issued a fresh round of warnings and studies calculating the damage to the currency union if Greece were to default on its debts or stop using the euro.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup body of European finance ministers, this week also raised the possibility of restricting the flow of money in and out of Greece to make sure the country has enough money to pay its debts.
Driving those concerns is an increasingly venomous standoff between Athens and nearly every other country in the 19-member currency union — especially Germany.
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One of the main sticking points is Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s pushing ahead with an anti-austerity agenda that creditors say conflicts with pledges he made on Feb. 20 in winning an agreement to let Greece extend its 240 billion euro, or $254 billion, bailout program for four months. That deal was crucial to giving Greece the ability to unlock loan money it badly needs. But so far, no funds have been forthcoming.