Just as millions of Greeks were preparing to go to the polls for what has been described as the most historic vote in more than 40 years, hard-line German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble appeared to blink— softening his stance against Greece, telling a German newspaper that the choice before Greek voters on Sunday was between holding on to the euro and being “temporarily without it”.
Schäuble also told the Bild newspaper “It is clear that we will not leave the [Greek] people in the lurch.”
This is a departure from Schäuble’s previous hard line against Greece. He had previously insisted on numerous occasions that a No vote by Greeks would see their country forced out of the euro. His relationship with his Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis, has been tested and tense after five months of face to face negotiations.
Almost 9.9 million Greeks have the right to vote in the referendum. Polling stations opened at 7am local time until 7pm (noon EST). The first results are expected around 9pm (2pm EST.