Saturday, April 25, 2015

Eurogroup ‘Unfriendly’ to Greece, Varoufakis Hammered by Peers

News from Greece

dra708by Philip Chrysopoulos - Apr 24, 2015

Friday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers bore no fruit for Greece and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was hammered by his peers.

Athens was hoping that the meeting in Riga would help release much-needed partial funding. Especially after Thursday’s statements of support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. A EU official described the atmosphere of the session as “unfriendly” to Greece.

Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the critical discussion on the Greek issue left the group “still far from where we wanted to be.” He reiterated that Athens must come to a comprehensive agreement with creditors before any bailout funds are disbursed.

Eurogroup vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said there was “not enough progress” on talks, while Malta’s Edward Scicluna talked of a “complete breakdown in communication” with Greece’s leadership. “We want to save Greece, but we’re speaking a different language,” he said characteristically.

Dijsselbloem said the Greek issue will be discussed in May’s scheduled meeting of euro zone finance ministers, adding that there won’t be an emergency Eurogroup before that.

Yanis Varoufakis was harshly criticized

Finance ministers expressed their frustration over the Greek minister’s procrastination and lack of urgency in negotiations. According to a Bloomberg report, a source characterized him as “a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur.”

Varoufakis suggested that the negotiation process would be speeded up if creditors would agree to a “partial disbursement” in return for a “narrower list of reforms.”

On his part, Varoufakis said after the meeting that discussions had “converged” and he expressed optimism that a deal for Greece would come soon.

Eurogroup members also expressed their disapproval of the effort made by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to bypass them and appeal to the German chancellor for a political solution.

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