Greeks woke up to shuttered banks and closed cash machines on Monday, as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its creditors pushed the austerity-battered country to the brink. The crisis also caused global markets to dive with European shares bearing the brunt of the crisis. Ciara Lee reports.
It's not the end of the line for Greece yet. But to many in Athens it looks like it. They woke to closed cash machines and shuttered banks. And a 60 euro limit on withdrawals when ATMs reopen on Tuesday. The measures are designed to keep Greek banks afloat - now the ECB has restricted its emergency funding. It's left the crisis in unchartered territory and European markets didn't like it. The euro fell almost two percent and Germany's DAX and France's CAC both fell around four percent within minutes. The Euro STOXX 50 index also declined by a similar amount - marking its worst one-day percentage loss in over three years. IG's Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "Markets have sold off quite aggressively on Monday morning. Unsurprisingly. We had certainly got an indication of that on the Sunday prices on the IG platform down about 4.4 percent on the DAX and the CAC and the FTSE down 2 percent as well." Greece's lenders place the blame firmly on the shoulders of prime minister Alexis Tsipras. He caught them by surprise over the weekend by calling for a referendum on the bailout. That could be irrelevant by Tuesday when the deal is due to expire and Athens is set to default on 1.6 billion euros of loans from the IMF. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET ANALYST, IG, SAYING: "The referendum that they'll be holding is a very complicated couple of documents that the average Greek citizen will arguably find too complicated to understand. And the other thing of course is that this is in reference to will effectively be taken off the table by the ECB and IMF before the referendum has an opportunity to take place." Pensioners flocked to Greek banks on Monday morning hoping to withdraw their pensions. And many said they feel let down. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ZAFIRIA, PENSIONER, 65 SAYING: "The Greek people are going to pay for Mr Tsipras's ambition and his ego. Mr Tsipras thought he would be able to save Europe and unite the south. But he didn't tell us who his friends were." Hopes of a last-minute breakthrough are fading fast. And that brings the prospect of the country being forced out of the euro into plain sight, with unforeseeable consequences for Europe's single currency.