Instead of preparing a reforms list, Greece is entangled in a war of words with international lenders that’s faltering, world press reports cite.
Greece Hits Back at Eurozone “Shock”
CNBC – Holly Ellyatt
Tensions between Greece and its creditors took another turn for the worse this weekend, following a report that euro zone officials were “shocked” at Greece’s failure to outline detailed structural reforms and its demands for cash at talks in Brussels last week.
But Greece’s finance ministry firmly dismissed the report Sunday, saying it was inaccurate and undermined ongoing negotiations, according to the Athens News Agency.
It comes after German newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), reported that members of the Euro Working Group (the single currency area’s group of deputy finance ministers) said they were disappointed by Athens’ lack of reform plans.
According to FAS, the sources said Greece’s representative asked where the money was “like a taxi driver” and insisted his country would soon be bankrupt, according to Reuters citing the German newspaper.
On Friday, Greece was given six working days by the technical staff of the Euro Working Group to come up with reform plans ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers (the Eurogroup) on April 24. Without reforms, a much-needed last trance of aid from the country’s extended bailout program will not be released …
Greece must secure another deal at the next meeting of the Eurogroup, on April 24, Vistesen argued, in order to “carry the economy through a summer littered with repayments” to both the IMF and its EU creditors.
However, the “final showdown” will come in July and August, the economist added, when Greece has to make big payments to the ECB and the European Investment Bank.
Greece Defends Tactics as Deadline Looms
The Guardian – Julia Kollewe
Greece has denied being intransigent in its dealings with eurozone officials, ahead of another crucial week for the cash-strapped country.
Greece’s finance ministry dismissed on Sunday a report by a German newspaper which reported that eurozone officials were “disappointed” by Greece’s failure to come up with plans for economic reforms at last week’s talks in Brussels.
The mood between Greece’s leftist government and its eurozone partners has remained tense during negotiations to determine whether or not the country qualifies for further financial aid from international lenders.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) cited officials at last week’s meeting as saying they were shocked by the lack of progress, and that the new Greek representative just asked where the money was – “like a taxi driver” – and insisted his country would soon be bankrupt.
Eurozone officials disagreed with this assessment, saying Athens was still able to meet its international obligations, and regarded its ability to pay public sector wages and pensions as a domestic problem, according to the report. They deplored Greece’s unwillingness to discuss cuts to public sector pensions.
The finance ministry in Athens hit back on Sunday, saying: “When the readers of FAS read the minutes … the newspaper will have difficulty justifying its headline and the content of its article. Such reports undermine the negotiation and Europe.”
Greece made a €450m loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund last week. A further €747m payment is due on 12 May. There are fears that Athens could run out of cash in coming weeks. It needs to pay out more than €1.5bn of social security payments for April this week.
IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said last week that talks between Greece and its creditors had been “difficult on almost a daily basis”.
She added: “What really matters now is for Greece and the three institutions to get on with the work so we can identify together the measures that will take Greece out of the very bad economic situation it could be in if those measures are not taken.”
Eurozone Says Greece Acts Like “Taxi Driver”
Business Insider – Lianna Brinded
Eurozone officials are apparently rather upset with Greece’s negotiation tactics.
In fact, numerous unnamed Eurozone officials, cited by a German newspaper, are allegedly so annoyed that they said Greece acted like a “taxi driver” and just kept asking for cash, instead of outlining reform plans, in the latest round of bailout talks.
According to a report on Sunday by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS), numerous Eurozone officials were “disappointed” by Greece’s lack of economic reform plans and were “shocked” by the lack of progress the ruling Syriza party had made.
Greece’s finance ministry hit back at the report, however, and issued a statement:
“When the readers of FAS read the minutes … the newspaper will have difficulty justifying its headline and the content of its article. Such reports undermine the negotiation and Europe.” ….
Greece is struggling to negotiate a bailout extension that would unlock €7.2 billion ($7.73 billion) for the country and tide it over for a few months.