With today's announcement by Greece's prime minister Antonis Samaras that the negotiations with the troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) have AT LAST concluded, the countdown to whether Greece will stay or go has started.
- Today: Samaras said the austerity package had been finalised. In Berlin, the finance ministers of France and Germany met. Later, Angela Merkel will meet IMF chief Christine Lagarde. In Brussels, eurozone finance ministry officials have been working on some of the finer points of their response.
- Tomorrow: Eurozone finance ministers hold an emergency conference call at 12.30pm.
- Next week: Greece's parliament will vote on the austerity package. Its backing is just as crucial as that of the rest of the eurozone's finance ministers.
- Thursday, 8 November: An extra eurozone finance ministers meeting could possibly take place in Brussels – this could depend on how the Greek parliament is getting on approving the package.
- Monday, 12 November: This is the meeting of eurozone finance ministers when the decisions will be taken. Greece needs its next bail-out instalment of €31 billion or it will run out of cash within days. But finance ministers must also decide whether to relax Greece's targets by two years – which would cost even more money, or approve some kind of debt forgiveness.
We've been here before. Greece will get its money and tougher than previously imagined conditions will be imposed. Comments from the eurozone's leaders in recent weeks have even spoken about Greece in positive terms – designed if nothing else to imply we can't blame the rest of the eurozone if Greece is forced out.
But Greece won't leave the eurozone because of what happens in the negotiating rooms of Brussels (or Berlin) but rather because of what happens on its own streets.