What You Need To Know About The Massive Crisis In Greece [Updated]

Photo: Thanassis Stavrakis/AP Photo.
Update: This crazy idea wasn't so crazy after all! As of Thursday morning, the Indiegogo campaign has raised more than €1.4 million, from more than 83,000 contributors. Granted, the Bailout Fund is still about €1.5 billion short, but because it has no strings attached — at least, in theory —it's much more generous than any of the bailout deals offered by EU leaders.

Greek citzens will vote Sunday on whether to accept the financial-rescue package offered by the country's creditors, but popular opinion appears close to evenly divided on whether to take it. A week of negotiations between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European leaders has gone nowhere, and Greece officially missed its deadline to pay back the €1.6 billion loan at on Tuesday.

This story was originally published on June 29, 2015.

A crowdsourced bailout fund for Greece? European leaders can't agree on how to deal with the mediterranean nation's financial crisis, so why not?

"€1.6bn is what the Greeks need," user Thom Feeney wrote. "It might seem like a lot but it's only just over €3 from each European. That's about the same as half a pint in London. Or everyone in the EU just having a Feta and Olive salad for lunch."

What would contributing to the Greek Bailout Fund get you? Only the finest in Greek products, from ouzo to olives. (As the prize for donating €1.6 billion suggests — your very own island — this isn't an officially sanctioned project.)

Crowdsourcing won't actually solve the deepening cracks in Greece's economy, but at this point, it's not clear what can. Banks were closed on Monday, and they will stay closed until July 5, and ATM withdrawals are limited to 60 euros a transaction, or around $67. The European Central Bank cut off emergency aid to Greek banks this weekend, so without these new, strict limits, panicked account holders would have been fighting over what little cash was available — even more than they already are.

Tuesday, June 30, is the deadline for Greece to pay back some 1.6 billion euros it owes to the International Monetary Fund, and after a week of tense negotiations with other European heads of state, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that he would put the European Union's financial rescue proposal up for a referendum, the BBC reported. If things get bad enough, Greece could be forced to give up the European currency.

If Greece does leave the eurozone, the consequences will reach far outside one country's borders. European stock markets have already taken a hit thanks to uncertainty about the future, and Greece's economy would still be depressed, at least in the short term. And it could deepen political divides between countries with stronger economies, such as Germany, and those with lest robust ones, like Italy and Spain.

Tsprias, whose party won a recent election on a wave of dissatisfaction over deep economic cuts, called the proposed deal a “blackmail ultimatum” for the country that would lead to “a strict and humiliating austerity…with no end in sight.” Greece's economy has been in trouble for years, with sky-high unemployment — a full 50% of people under 25 don't have jobs — and widespread poverty.

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