Britain preparing for 'worst' in Greece: Minister

Britain preparing for 'worst' in Greece: Minister
Finance minister George Osbourne
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - Britain on Wednesday urged a swift solution to the Greek crisis, saying it was prepared "for the worst" and ready to defend its economic security after Greece defaulted on its IMF debt.

"It is vital now that the current uncertainty is resolved, whatever the Greek people decide, to ensure economic and financial stability across Europe," finance minister George Osborne said in a statement.

"Britain's attitude to this developing crisis is clear: we hope for the best but we prepare for the worst," Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne said.

"We stand ready to do whatever is necessary to protect our economic security at this uncertain time." Britain has already warned travellers to Greece to bring enough cash for the duration of their stay and will help people receiving British pensions in Greece to move their funds out of Greek bank account.

The European Union will decide Wednesday whether to grant Greece a last-minute bailout package to avoid pushing it further towards an exit from the eurozone.

Greece on Tuesday failed to make a 1.5 billion euro (US$1.7 billion) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), becoming the first industrialised country to do so.

On the same day, the international bailout keeping its economy afloat formally expired.

The missed payment underlined the failure of more than five months of wrangling between Greece's radical left government and its creditors to reshape its bailout and prevent it dropping out of the eurozone.

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