Ducking Critique, Greek Finance Minister Avoids Eurogroup Meeting

FILE - Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos arrives to the Eurogroup Finance Ministers meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Monday, March 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

With Greece’s European creditors unhappy that the government is doling out campaign handouts that could undo critical reforms and austerity measures, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos avoiding going to meet them in Brussels.

While he was absent, officials at the Eurogroup, an informal body of finance ministers in the 23 countries using the euro, unloaded a barrage of criticism on Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras’ government.

There were fears that Tsipras, with the Aug. 20, 2018 end of three bailouts of 326 billion euros ($363.91 billion) and facing an election campaign while plummeting the polls after reneging on anti-austerity promises would start backtracking, and he has.

Tsakalotos, a Marxist economist forced into embarrassing surrenders to Capitalists and alleged ideological enemies of SYRIZA, said he didn’t go because Greece wouldn’t be discussed but Kathimerini said he knew it would be and that he ducked his colleagues.

After Tsipras announced pension bonuses and tax cuts – far less than the pension cuts and tax hikes he imposed on orders of the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM,) Eurogroup worries cranked up.

The body’s chief, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno put talk about Greece on the table at the meeting to give Tsakalotos a chance to explain what was going on.

Tsakalotos’ office was informed about that a few days before the meeting, the paper said, so that he wouldn’t be surprised about the topic being brought up, adding that he called a Eurogroup representative to complain Tsipras’ handouts would be brought up.

Centeno insisted on the discussion so Tsakalotos sent his backup, Giorgos Houliarakis to face the music even though the Alternate Minister didn’t agree with the handouts policy but had to defend it to creditors.