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29 Jun, 2015 14:51

​Eleventh-hour deal on Greek debt still feasible – Juncker

The possibility of reaching an agreement with Greece still remains, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said. “There is very little time left, we are talking about minutes and seconds,” he added.

Greek debt crisis LIVE UPDATES

The talks on Greek debt were interrupted, when at the weekend the government announced the yes/no national referendum on the creditors’ offer, Juncker said at a Brussels news conference Monday. On Tuesday Greece must repay €1.6 billion to the IMF.

On Monday, Reuters reported, citing a source in the Greek government, that Athens will not repay the IMF loan due on Tuesday.

The negotiations were cut short at the worst moment, as an agreement could have opened new credit lines to Athens, Juncker said.

READ MORE:Greece to hold national referendum on debt deal - PM

He was presumably speaking about a €15.3 billion bailout that would have been provided to Greece in the next five months if the parties had reached an agreement before June, 30.

READ MORE: Greece’s creditors ready to unlock €15.3bn till November – media

The package offered to Greece by its creditors goes well beyond fiscal measures and proposes a way forward, said Juncker. The Greeks must understand this is not “a stupid austerity package," it would have led to no wage or pension cuts and created more social justice, Juncker said. The lenders asked instead to modernize the wages payment system itself in accordance with the latest European and international standards, he said.

Overall, they have reduced demands on Greece by €12 billion, Juncker added.

Moment of truth

The referendum is the moment of truth for Greece; the people have to say yes at the referendum on July 5. No would mean a negative answer to Europe, it would lead to a catastrophic aftermath, a suicide, he said.

The EU should stay united, it shouldn’t become an arena for national interests, he said.

"I am deeply disappointed by the show, which was played in Brussels on Saturday," he added.

Juncker: There are no winners & losers. Either we're all winners or we're all losers http://t.co/75mcbfawMvpic.twitter.com/AyaNT08fsf

— RT (@RT_com) June 29, 2015

On Saturday, the Greek government ratified a referendum allowing citizens decide what to do with Greece’s €240 billion debt to its international creditors.The Eurogroup subsequently said that negotiations were terminated and the aid program would expire on June, 30. If Greece fails to settle the outstanding June payments, it could technically default.

READ MORE: Greece closes banks, imposes capital controls

Greece will see its banks remain closed for a week and cash withdrawals will be limited at €60 a day. The ECB has decided against expanding its emergency liquidity assistance(ELA). As of June 23, the ECB had lent Greek banks about €89 billion under the ELA program.

The Greeks would be voting on proposals that no longer exist, IMF chief Christine Lagarde told the BBC, speaking on the decision made on Saturday.

On June, 30 the bailout for Greece expires, she said.