ATHENS, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker kept alive Greek hopes of winning more time to push through austerity cuts but warned the country was staring at its "last chance" to avoid bankruptcy.
Mired in a fifth year of recession, Greece has been lobbying for two more years to hit budget targets promised under its second, 130-billion euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.
Juncker said a decision to grant more time would depend on the findings of a review by EU and IMF lenders on the country's progress in fulfilling its pledges. He accompanied that with a warning to Greece to shore up its dire finances, saying the country's next tranche of aid would depend on it producing a credible strategy for austerity cuts. "As far as the immediate future is concerned the ball is in the Greek court," Juncker said. "In fact this is the last chance and Greek citizens have to know this."
Right now, two members of Club Med are calling Europe’s bluff.