Greek people paralyzed by 'overwhelming, deep uncertainty'

The World
A pro-Euro protester holds a European Union and a Greek national flag during a rally in front of the parliament building in Athens, Greece, July 9, 2015.

The situation in Greece starting to sound like the boy who cried "deadline."

Deadlines have come and gone, but this is the real deal, says BBC correspondent Mark Lowen.

And the Greek people are anxious for the reckoning day to finally arrive. They've been riding an emotional roller coaster since the crisis began.

"The first emotion was absolute anger, fury and rioting. Then there was depression. And now it's just that overwhelming, deep uncertainty," Lowen says.

While plenty of negotiations have happened in the past few days, Lowen says time has run out for that. By midnight tonight, Greece aims to submit a proposal to creditors. If they do, European leaders will have until Sunday to decide whether to accept it.

One crucial component that is a deal-breaker for Greece is debt relief, Lowen says. The country's debt is, well, staggering. "Greece's public debt is 340 billion euros. That's the equivalent of every Greek citizen owing 30,000 euros, about $40,000," Lowen says.

A Greek family Lowen talked to is expecting paychecks on Monday, Lowen says, but have no idea what form those paychecks will come in. "They do not know if they'll be paid in drachmas, in euros, in 'I owe yous,' or not be paid at all," he says. As for what they do have, "they're counting every cent and they're obviously very, very worried."

While Greece's fate is still up in the air, Lowen senses a growing optimism. "Nobody — no European leader and certainly no Greek leader at the moment — wants to see Greece leaving the eurozone, so there is still hope it could be pulled back from the brink."

Will you keep The World spinning?

Donations from listeners like you are absolutely crucial in funding the great music and human-centered global news you hear on The World. Recurring gifts provide predictable, sustainable support — letting our team focus on telling the stories you don’t hear anywhere else. If you make a gift of $100 or pledge $10/month we’ll send you a curated playlist highlighting some of the team's favorite music from the show Donate today to keep The World spinning.