Greece's government appeared to be caving a bit, by way of a two-page letter sent from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last night to the country's three major creditors: the IMF, European Commission, and European Central Bank. Tsipras' letter said his government was prepared to accept creditors' proposals, subject to certain amendments. Here's one, per the Wall Street Journal: that beginning the shift in retirement age to 67 by 2022 be delayed until October. Though the Washington Post reports Tsipras kept in place "most of the added belt-tightening provisions he previously dismissed," it puts the chances of a deal as "dim." Indeed, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was clear that no deal was imminent, at least not before Sunday's Greek referendum; Angela Merkel echoed that.
Creditors have fiercely opposed the referendum, and they're not alone. The Council of Europe, an independent body that monitors elections and human rights, told the AP that any such referendum would fall short of international standards. Though it has no enforcement capacity, the declaration of its chief, Thorbjorn Jagland, is seen as a major blow to the government's plan. Such standards call for at least two weeks' notice to allow for discussion, a clear question to be put to voters, and international observers invited to monitor the vote. Jagland spoke of problems with all three requirements. Greek officials hinted that any deal with creditors could cause the referendum to be canceled. Eurozone finance ministers, meanwhile, were meeting again to discuss Greece's position. (Read more Greece stories.)