Greek government offers sweeping proposal to creditors

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Deadline For Greece To Present New Bailout Proposals Nears
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece finally met a deadline that counted on Thursday and made a series of sweeping proposals that its creditors needed by midnight to set off a mad rush toward a weekend deal to stave off a financial collapse of the nation.

The package met longstanding demands by creditors to impose wide-ranging sales-tax hikes and cuts in state spending for pensions that the left-leaning Greek government had long resisted.

It raised hopes that Greece can get the rescue deal that will prevent a catastrophic exit from the euro after key creditors said they were open to discussing how to ease the country's debt load, a long-time sticking point in their talks.

In the text of proposals sent by Athens late Thursday, the government conceded to demands it had previously refused to accept - mostly on moving various categories of goods and services to higher sales tax rates - in exchange for a new 53.5 billion-euro ($59 billion) bailout package.

The government said the proposals would be voted on by Greece's parliament late Friday before an emergency summit Sunday of all 28 European Union leaders.

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Greek government offers sweeping proposal to creditors
Pro-Euro demonstrators shout slogans as they hold Greek and European Union flags in front of the Greek Parliament during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens, Thursday, July 9, 2015. Hopes that Greece can get a rescue deal that will prevent a catastrophic exit from the euro rose on Thursday, after key creditors said they were open to discussing how to ease the country's debt load, a long-time sticking point in their talks. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Supporters of the No vote dance at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A supporter of the No vote waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greeks overwhelmingly rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
People gather in front of the White Tower, a city's landmark, in Thessaloniki on July 5, 2015, after early results showed those who rejected further austerity measures in a crucial bailout referendum were poised to win. Over 61 percent of Greek voters on July 5 rejected fresh austerity demands by the country's EU-IMF creditors in a historic referendum, official results from 50 percent of polling stations showed. AFP PHOTO /Sakis MitrolidisAFP PHOTO /Sakis Mitrolidis (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate in Athens on July 5, 2015 after the first exit-polls of the Greek referendum. Over 60 percent of Greeks rejected further austerity dictated by the country's EU-IMF creditors in a referendum, results from 20 percent of polling stations showed. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of the No vote react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Supporters of the No vote react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A supporter of the No vote waves a Greek flag after the referendum's exit polls at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as officials counted the results of a referendum Sunday on whether to accept creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans, with three opinion polls showing a tight race with a narrow victory likely for the "no" side. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras casts his vote at a polling station in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greeks began voting early Sunday in a closely-watched, closely-contested referendum, which the government pits as a choice over whether to defy the country's creditors and push for better repayment terms or essentially accept their terms, but which the opposition and many of the creditors paint as a choice between staying in the euro or leaving it. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A supporter of the No vote waves a Greek flag after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Supporters of the No vote react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans.(AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Protesters chant slogans in front of the Greek parliament in central Athens, on June 29, 2015. Some 17,000 people took to the streets of Athens and Thessalonique to say 'No' to the latest offer of a bailout deal, accusing Greece's international creditors of blackmail. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Carrying banners calling for a 'NO' vote in the forthcoming referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, protesters gather in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, on June 29, 2015. Some 17,000 people took to the streets of Athens and Thessalonique to say 'No' to the latest offer of a bailout deal Monday, accusing Greece's international creditors of blackmail. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
An anti-EU protester burns an EU flag in front of the European Comission offices in Athens on July 2, 2015, during a demonstration supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum. Greece's government and international creditors raised the stakes on July 2 over a weekend referendum seen as decisive for the nearly insolvent EU country's political and financial future. While Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged Greeks to vote 'No' to the austerity measures demanded by international creditors, opposition parties including the centre-right New Democracy are campaigning for a 'Yes' vote in the referendum on July 5. AFP PHOTO / Louisa Gouliamaki (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Riot police march alongside anti-EU protesters in front of the European commision offices in Athens on July 2, 2015, during a demonstration supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum. Greece's government and international creditors raised the stakes on July 2 over a weekend referendum seen as decisive for the nearly insolvent EU country's political and financial future. While Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged Greeks to vote 'No' to the austerity measures demanded by international creditors, opposition parties including the centre-right New Democracy are campaigning for a 'Yes' vote in the referendum on July 5. AFP PHOTO / Louisa Gouliamaki (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Greek voters will decide in a referendum next Sunday on whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece's creditor. Greece has imposed capital controls with the banks being closed untill the referendum. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Greek voters will decide in a referendum next Sunday on whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece's creditor. Greece has imposed capital controls with the banks being closed untill the referendum. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
People sing the greek national anthem under a giant greek flag, during a pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 22, 2015. Greece's international lenders raised hopes for a vital bailout agreement this week to save Athens from default and a possible euro exit, despite warning no deal was likely at an emergency summit. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester bears on her wrist the ''NO'' slogan in reference to the forthcoming referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, during a demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country's bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATMs. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 22: A man waves a EU flag as pro-Euro protesters take part in a rally in front of the Parliament on June 22. 2015 in Athens, Greece. Thousends of people attended the rally in support of Greece remaining in the European Union. The Eurozone's 19 national leaders held an emergency summit in Brussels to discuss the crisis and welcomed new proposals from the Greek government after talks today to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
Protesters participate a demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country's bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATMs. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Greek voters will decide in a referendum next Sunday on whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece's creditor. Greece has imposed capital controls with the banks being closed untill the referendum. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
Protesters demonstrate during a pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 22, 2015. Greece's international lenders raised hopes for a vital bailout agreement this week to save Athens from default and a possible euro exit, despite warning no deal was likely at an emergency summit on Monday. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters demonstrate during a pro-European demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 22, 2015. Greece's international lenders raised hopes for a vital bailout agreement this week to save Athens from default and a possible euro exit, despite warning no deal was likely at an emergency summit on Monday. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Greek voters will decide in a referendum next Sunday on whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece's creditor. Greece has imposed capital controls with the banks being closed untill the referendum. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
Leftist youth hold a placard reading 'No more recession, out of the eurozone' during a demonstration in Athens calling for Greece's exit from the eurozone on June 28, 2015. Greece weighed drastic banking restrictions to stave off a financial collapse as anxious Greeks emptied cash machines amid fears that banks will be closed this week. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Foreign anti-EU activists protest in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, during a demonstration calling for 'NO' at referendum and for Greece's exit from the eurozone on June 28, 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stunned Europe late Friday with a surprise call for a July 5 referendum on the latest cash-for-reforms package and advised voters against backing a deal that he said spelled further 'humiliation'..AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 22: Pro-Euro protesters take part in a rally in front of the Parliament on June 22. 2015 in Athens, Greece. Thousends of people attended the rally in support of Greece remaining in the European Union. The Eurozone's 19 national leaders held an emergency summit in Brussels to discuss the crisis and welcomed new proposals from the Greek government after talks today to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
Protesters walk over stickers reading 'Better drachma than submission' during a demonstration calling for an exit from the eurozone and a 'No' vote in the upcoming referendum in Athens on June 28, 2015. Greece weighed drastic banking restrictions to stave off a financial collapse as anxious Greeks emptied cash machines amid fears that banks will be closed this week. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 18: Pro-European Union protesters take part in a rally in front of the parliament on June 18, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Thousends people attended the rally in support of Greece remaining in the EU. About three-quarters of Greeks support keeping the EU's common currency, according to recent polls. Greece and creditors failed to reach an agreement Thursday in troubled bailout talks, with a June 30 deadline looming. .(Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
Protesters participate in a demonstration calling for a 'No' vote in the forthcoming referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country's bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATM's. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman is seen through a banner during a demonstration to protest against EU austerity policies and in support of the Greek government in Thessaloniki on 17 June, 2015. All eyes are on a meeting of the 19 eurozone countries to take place on June 18 in Luxembourg, but several officials including Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said they were not expecting a breakthrough there either. AFP PHOTO /Sakis Mitrolidis (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a placard with a Greek flag during a demonstartion to protest against EU austerity policies and in order to support the Greek government in Thessaloniki on 17 June, 2015. All eyes are on a meeting of the 19 eurozone countries to take place on June 18 in Luxembourg, but several officials including Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said they were not expecting a breakthrough there either. AFP PHOTO /Sakis Mitrolidis (Photo credit should read SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Communist-affiliated protesters throw leaflets from atop the occupied Finance Ministry in central Athens during their rally against EU-IMF loan deal on June 11, 2015. The Greek government said it would 'intensify' efforts to resolve differences with its EU-IMF creditors to reach a deal that would give the country desperately needed bailout funds. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of left wing parties shout slogans behind a burning European Union flag during an anti-EU protest in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, June 28, 2015. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says the Bank of Greece has recommended that banks remain closed and restrictions be imposed on transactions, after the European Central Bank didn't increase the amount of emergency liquidity the lenders can access from the central bank. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A protestor holds a banner reading in Greek "Stop to new and old bailouts" during an anti bailout protest in Syntagma square in central Athens, Thursday, June 25, 2015. EU leaders met for an EU summit to discuss, among other issues, migration and the Greek bailout. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Pensioners chant slogans during an anti-austerity protest in Athens, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Greece's government defended Tuesday the billions worth of "harsh" new budget savings it has offered in talks with creditors, as some of the governing party's own lawmakers spoke out against them. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Greek pensioner from the island of Crete stands in front of a police vehicle during an anti-austerity protest organized by pensioners' unions in Athens, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Greece's government defended Tuesday the billions worth of "harsh" new budget savings it has offered in talks with creditors, as some of the governing party's own lawmakers spoke out against them. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Silhouettes of supporters of a NO vote in the upcoming referendum, are thrown on a "NO" banner during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greek pensioners swarmed closed bank branches and long lines snaked at ATMs as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a July 5 referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A supporter of a NO vote in the upcoming referendum, waves a Greek flag in front of the parliament during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greek pensioners swarmed closed bank branches and long lines snaked at ATMs as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a July 5 referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Supporters of the NO vote in the upcoming referendum, gather during a rally at Syntagma square in Athens on Monday, June 29, 2015. Anxious Greek pensioners swarmed closed bank branches and long lines snaked outside ATMs as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a July 5 referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Tom McGrath, a vendor who sells miniatures, originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who has lived in Greece for the last 20 years, sits next to a satirical sign written by him, in the Plaka tourist district of Athens, Friday, June 26, 2015. With Greece facing a potential debt default June 30, European leaders have demanded finance ministers from eurozone countries reach an agreement on Saturday that will allow creditors to unblock the remaining 7.2 billion euros in Greece's international bailout program. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
A pensioner holds a flag bearing the picture of Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara during an an anti-austerity protest in Athens, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Greece's government defended Tuesday the billions worth of "harsh" new budget savings it has offered in talks with creditors, as some of the governing party's own lawmakers spoke out against them. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 29: Demonstrators during a rally in Athens, Greece, 29 June 2015. Greek voters will decide in a referendum next Sunday on whether their government should accept an economic reform package put forth by Greece's creditor. Greece has imposed capital controls with the banks being closed untill the referendum. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
A man holds a placard reading 'FMI+Troika=Criminals' as he protests in front of the European Commission headquarters in Barcelona during a demonstration in support of Greece, on June 29, 2015. Greece blindsided creditors on June 27, 2015 by calling a referendum for July 5 on the latest bailout proposal being offered to Greece, a move interpreted by its creditors as Athens' desire to break off negotiations. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester holds a Greek flag the ''NO'' slogan in reference to the forthcoming referendum on bailout conditions set by the country's creditors, during a demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country's bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATMs. AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS (Photo credit should read ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GREECE - JUNE 22: Riot police stand with shields as pro-Euro protesters take part in a rally in front of the Parliament on June 22. 2015 in Athens, Greece. Thousends of people attended the rally in support of Greece remaining in the European Union. The Eurozone's 19 national leaders held an emergency summit in Brussels to discuss the crisis and welcomed new proposals from the Greek government after talks today to haul Athens back from the brink of bankruptcy. (Photo by Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
A protester burns a five-euro banknote during a demonstration calling for an exit from the eurozone and a 'No' in the upcoming referendum in Athens on June 28, 2015. Greece weighed drastic banking restrictions to stave off a financial collapse as anxious Greeks emptied cash machines amid fears that banks will be closed this week. AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI (Photo credit should read LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters take part in a demonstration in front of the Greek parliament in Athens on June 29, 2015. Greece shut its banks and the stock market and imposed capital controls after creditors at the weekend refused to extend the country's bailout past the June 30 deadline, prompting anxious citizens to empty ATMs. AFP PHOTO / Angelos Tzortzinis (Photo credit should read ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporters of the No vote celebrate after the results of the referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greeks overwhelmingly rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A supporter of the No vote shouts slogans after the results of the referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greeks overwhelmingly rejected creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for rescue loans in a critical referendum Sunday, backing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who insisted the vote would give him a stronger hand to reach a better deal. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Supporters of the No vote react after the results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Children wave Greek flags as supporters of the No vote react after the first results of the referendum at Syntagma square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as its interior ministry predicted Sunday that more than 60 percent of voters in a hastily called referendum had rejected creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Supporters of the No vote react after the referendum's exit polls at Klafthmonos square in Athens, Sunday, July 5, 2015. Greece faced an uncharted future as officials counted the results of a referendum Sunday on whether to accept creditors' demands for more austerity in exchange for rescue loans, with three opinion polls showing a tight race with a narrow victory likely for the "no" side. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
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After months of foot-dragging despite impending chaos, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met a midnight deadline with more than an hour to spare. The spokesman for eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem tweeted that it was "important for institutions to consider these (proposals) in their assessment" of the Greek situation.

Finance officials from the European institutions and the International Monetary Fund were to fine-comb through the proposals on Friday before the 19 eurozone finance ministers assess them on Saturday.In ideal circumstances, a summit of the full European Union would be able to approve them on Sunday.

Earlier Thursday, Donald Tusk of Poland, who chairs the EU summits, indicated that European officials would make an effort to address Greece's key request for debt relief.

"The realistic proposal from Greece will have to be matched by an equally realistic proposal on debt sustainability from the creditors. Only then will we have a win-win situation," Tusk said.

Greece has long argued its debt is too high to be paid back and that the country requires some form of debt relief. The International Monetary Fund agrees with the premise, but key European states like Germany have resisted the idea.

Greece: What Went Wrong?

On Thursday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said the possibility of some kind of debt relief would be discussed over coming days, though he cautioned it may not provide much help.

"The room for maneuver through debt reprofiling or restructuring is very small," he said.

Making Greece's debt more sustainable would likely involve lowering the interest rates and extending the repayment dates on its bailout loans. Germany and many other European countries rule out an outright debt cut, arguing it would be illegal under European treaties.

Tsipras met with finance ministry officials and his cabinet throughout the day Thursday to finalize his country's plan, a day after his government requested a new three-year aid program from Europe's bailout fund and promised to immediately enact reforms, including to taxes and pensions, in return.

The last-minute maneuvers come as Greece's financial system teeters on the brink of collapse. It has imposed restrictions on banking transactions since June 29, limiting cash withdrawals to 60 euros ($67) per day to stanch a bank run. Banks and the stock market have been shut for just as long.

The closures, which have been extended through Monday, have led to daily lines at ATM machines and have hammered businesses. Payments abroad have been banned without special permission.

"Can you see anybody in the shop? Nobody's coming in, because everyone's living off a drip," said Magda Petridi, a fortune teller who runs a shop selling good luck charms, aromatic oils and trinkets. "Until a month ago business was going pretty well."

Pensioners without bank cards have been particularly hard hit as they have struggled to access their accounts. Some branches have been opened so the elderly and unemployed without bank cards can withdraw a maximum weekly sum of 120 euros each. Hundreds lined up outside banks Thursday morning, many facing hours-long waits in the heat.

Meanwhile, many ATMs had a shortage of 20 euro notes, effectively reducing the daily withdrawal limit to 50 euros.

If Tsipras does not get a deal, Greece faces an almost inevitable collapse of the banking system, which would be the first step for the country to fall out of the euro.

"I believe he will have to get an agreement. We will pay dearly for it, but at least we'll get an agreement," said mechanic Pantelis Niarchos, walking down the street in central Athens.

After months of fruitless negotiations with Tsipras' government, elected in January on promises to repeal bailout austerity, the skeptical eurozone creditor states had insisted they wanted to see a detailed, cost-accounted plan of reforms.

Greece's financial institutions have been kept afloat so far by emergency liquidity assistance from the European Central Bank. But the ECB has not increased the amount in days, leaving the lenders in a stranglehold despite capital controls.

German ECB governing council member Jens Weidmann argued Greek banks should not get more emergency credit from the central bank unless a bailout deal is struck.

He said it was up to eurozone governments and Greek leaders themselves to rescue Greece.

The central bank "has no mandate to safeguard the solvency of banks and governments," he said in a speech.

The ECB capped emergency credit to Greek banks amid doubt whether the country will win further rescue loans from other countries. The banks closed and limited ATM withdrawals because they had no other way to replace deposits.

Weidmann said he welcomed the fact that central bank credit "is no longer being used to finance capital flight caused by the Greek government."

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Casert reported from Brussels. Associated Press writers Efty Katasreas in Athens, Angela Charlton in Paris, David McHugh in Frankfurt and Mike Corder in Brussels contributed to this report.

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