Tsipras – Merkel meeting to discuss Greek crisis confirmed

(The Guardian) Greek PM Alexis Tsipras will meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel, after dinner, on the sidelines of the EU summit in the Latvian capital which begins tonight.

And Athens insiders hope the discussion might help to break the deadlock that threatens to leave Greece perilously short of funds to meet €1.5bn of IMF repayments in June.

Greek spokesman Gavriel Sakellarides told us last night that:

“We know that decisive decisions ultimately are taken at the level of finance ministers in the Eurogroup but at this critical moment a meeting between Tsipras and Merkel can only be helpful.”

The two leaders will discuss Greece’s liquidity crisis – last night, the European Central Bank agreed to provide another €200m of emergency help.

Greece and her lenders are still divided over three key issues; VAT rates, pension payments, and deregulating the labour market.

Tsipras’s task is to persuade fellow leaders that Greece must break with austerity.

As Sakellarides put it:

“The persistence of the architects of this regime and their insistence of keeping the country on the same track, is simply irrational. We want to stop the vicious cycle of debt and recession. Its not about stubbornness. Its about preserving Greece and its people.”

Last night, finance minister Yanis Varoufakis warned that Greece would choose to pay pensions rather than repaying the IMF, if it ran out of funds next month.