Greece rejects both an extension of the bailout programme and any talks with the troika of its creditors, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Friday. The Greek government “does not plan to cooperate” with the troika, which he described as a tri-party commission integrated into a programme which the government has rejected and which the European Parliament said was unsoundly structured, Varoufakis said.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the FinMin stressed that the government’s priority was to promote deep reforms that will strengthen competitiveness
Speaking to reporters, the Greek FinMin said there was a huge difference between institutional agencies in Europe such as the European Central Bank and the Commission, and international organisations such as the IMF, with which the country began consultations and are considered partners, “with a commission with an anti-European logic, integrated in the implementation of a programme that we have rejected and which, according to the European Parliament, is an ‘unsoundly structured commission’.”
Varoufakis noted that the government could adhere to state commitments but stressed “what we will not accept is the “continuity” of a self-reinforcing crisis of deflation and non-sustainable debt”. He added that he offered strong commitments on behalf of the government over the Greek side’s determination to promote “deep and necessary reforms, without fear and passion, that will boost competitiveness” and offered guarantees, first to the Greek people and to its partners, of balanced budgets and “sustainable small primary surpluses.”
“This platform enabled us to win the confidence of the Greek people,” Varoufakis told reporters. “Our first action as a government will not be to reject the rationale of questioning this programme through a request to extend it.”
Dijsselbloem told reporters that he had constructive talks with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the government’s economic team. He said the meeting with Varoufakis was significant, adding, “I wanted to hear the government’s intentions and to explain its obligations. We have mutual interests.”
He noted as positive the fact that the government’s ambition was for Greece to remain in the eurozone. The head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group said that in 2012 the Eurogroup had pledged to offer adequate support to Greece until the country returned to markets, on the condition that all commitments were met. The country’s economic problems cannot disappear overnight, he said, underlining that the Greek people suffered heavily from the economic measures and it must be ensured that these sacrifices are not going to be wasted.
“It is up to the government to determine its position towards us and to move jointly forward,” Dijsselbloem noted, adding that unilateral steps were not leading to progress and stressing the need to continue talks. Commenting on whether a European summit on debt was necessary, he said, “There already is a summit and it is called the Eurogroup.”