Pushed to the limits of austerity
Yesterday's two-week ultimatum to Greece from European finance ministers almost certainly represents the EU's last throw of the dice as it seeks to avert what is beginning to look like an inevitable Greek debt default.
While threatening to withhold the latest €12bn of bailout cash from the Greeks if they don't comply with the terms of ultimatum might seem like a draconian threat, just how credible is it if it leads to the very default that both the EU and the ECB are so anxious to avoid?
In reality, not very credible at all. No matter what threats may come from Brussels and Frankfurt it is increasingly obvious that both the EU and the ECB are now no more than interested bystanders in the unfolding Greek drama.