Date
21 August 2017
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis addresses a press conference after talks with eurozone creditors broke down in acrimony. Photo: Reuters
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis addresses a press conference after talks with eurozone creditors broke down in acrimony. Photo: Reuters

Greece bailout talks collapse in anger

Eurozone talks on the future of Greece’s bailout broke down after Athens angrily rejected the bloc’s proposal to extend its 172 billion euro (US$195 billion) rescue package.

Greek officials dismissed the proposal as “absurd” and “unacceptable”, according to the Financial Times.

Monday’s talks collapsed when Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis strongly objected to a draft statement requiring Athens to drop its fierce opposition to prolonging the bailout.

It was the second time in five days negotiations between the new anti-austerity Greek government and its eurozone creditors had collapsed.

That means Athens, whose public finances are fast deteriorating, could soon be left with no European financial backstop.

The eurozone gave Athens until Wednesday night to reverse course, the report said.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the eurogroup of finance ministers, said the time available for a Greek request was almost out.

“We can use this week, but that’s about it,” he said.

“There was a very strong opinion across the eurogroup that the next step has to come from the Greek authorities,” he said.

Speaking after the meeting, Varoufakis for the first time said publicly he had been prepared to agree to an extension of the existing program but under different conditions than the eurogroup ultimately demanded.

He said an earlier plan presented to him by Pierre Moscovici, the European Commission’s economic chief, was in line with Greek thinking and he had been ready to sign it before it was changed.

Although he did not say why the Moscovici plan was more attractive, he still believed there was room to agree before the end of the week.

“I have no doubt there is going to be an agreement in the end,” he said.

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