- Tense atmosphere at meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga
- patience with Greece obviously at the end
- diplomats report of abuse of Greeks Minister Varoufakis
Giani Varoufakis comes in Riga as always – without a tie and with a broad grin. Without a word, usually so communicative Greek Finance walks past waiting journalists.
In the hall “Riga” the Latvian National Library it then goes to the point. “That was not a good day for Varoufakis,” said an EU diplomat dry. The Athenians cash guardian must listen clenched critique of Euro Partners. “We are all aware that time is running,” says Euro Group CEO Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The responsibility for the impasse wear especially Athens.
“This was a very critical discussion”
The euro countries accuse the left-right government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras before becoming more open, the negotiations on a package of reforms to procrastinate -. and thus endanger the stability of the single currency area
The mood is irritable, very much. “It went right to the point,” it says on the edge of the meeting room. The proud economist Varoufakis is according to the Bloomberg news agency even as a “player”, “amateur” and have been insulted “time wasters”. Diplomats do not confirm these words first. “This was a very critical discussion”, but formulated the diplomatic Dijsselbloem.
The negotiations are cumbersome
“I’ve been somewhat annoyed by the thing,” sums up well the Austrian department chief Hans Jörg Schelling. Because there are always new deadlines and declarations of intent: “If Varoufakis (…) says in an interview, you must assemble at last, then I ask myself: What have we done in the last six months,”
The negotiations between experts from Athens and donors do indeed come forward – but only with difficulty. “We are still far away,” said EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici overlooking the much needed understanding. Without it blocked auxiliary billion can not flow into the empty Athenian state coffers.
Athens provides only scant numbers
The speculation about the extremely precarious financial situation of the bankrupt threatened the country continues in Riga. The EU institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – once called troika – get sparse numbers. Soon billions more loans have to be repaid.
“The liquidity is increasingly a problem for the Greek government,” says the Dutchman Dijsselbloem. The studied agricultural economist is confident and continues to believe in a deal.
doubts about Varoufakis grow
Can the creditor can not be operated, the Mediterranean country is insolvent. But that would not necessarily mean that Greece must leave the euro zone. “There is no exit from the euro, but only from the EU,” said the Austrian Schelling facing the European law
In the Euro group’s doubts grow if Varoufakis even still has a mandate. – and that the Athens government coalition of the vielströmigen Syriza and the right-wing populist still pulls together. The impression in Riga is that the solution to the debt drama has become a top priority.
Chancellor wants to prevent Grexit
So completely groundless is not. Tsipras comes before the meeting in Latvia again on the verge of EU emergency summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel together. The mini-round lasts longer than planned – and runs constructively, as then called
In Athens should find a set of Merkel’s special hearing.. Asked whether Greece might go out the money, the Chancellor replied: “Everything must be done to prevent it.”
Despite tough debates and harsh words themselves are Varoufakis on the Baltic coast relaxed. The 54-year-old laughs at the “family photo” with his European counterparts even in the cameras and sees “clear signs of a substantial convergence”
But he does not conceal the problems. Pension reform, foreclosures of real estate, necessary budget customization. “We Europeans have no right not to agree.”