A meeting of European finance ministers broke up late Saturday with no agreement on whether Greece should be granted its third bailout since 2010, reflecting deep divides over whether the Athens government can be trusted to repay huge new loans and leaving the continent hours from what could be a historic rupture.
The European Union also said it was “relatively unlikely” it would get the green light today to start talks for a new bailout for cash-strapped Greece. “If we have draft bills and if we have the prospect of a vote in the Greek parliament, there will be confidence”.
Instead, the eurozone’s 19 leaders, including Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, will meet Sunday afternoon to assess the outcome of the finance ministers meeting and plot a further way ahead.
But the Germans’ initial treatment of Greece’s proposals was that they lacked “a number of paramount important reform areas to modernise the country”, adding that the labour market reform, public sector reform, and privatisations were insufficient.
“We will certainly not be able to rely on promises”, said Germany’s hardline finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
Schaeuble put the blame for the current crisis firmly on the shoulders of the radical left Syriza government that was elected in January. “Hope built over years on Greece until the end of last year was destroyed at an unimaginable level up until the last days and hours”.
Schaeuble said Saturday’s discussions would be “extraordinarily hard”.
The result is that the country’s fate in the eurozone continues to hang in the balance.
He conceded that the Greek government had a lot of persuading to do following a marked deterioration in relations with worldwide creditors.
“The room for manoeuvre through debt reprofiling or restructuring is very small”, he said. “At what tempo are you going to do it”. Productive Reconstruction and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said on Thursday that the goal was “a deal respecting people’s dignity” and not a third bailout of “harsh austerity, suffering and deprivation”.
Dijsselbloem said that it helps that the Greek Parliament seems to agree with the plan.
Tsakalotos pleaded with ministers yesterday to have Greece given another chance.
Ex- finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned this week, was absent for family reasons, saying on Twitter he was spending the weekend with his daughter who was visiting from Australia.
“There is no doubt that for six months now we’ve been in a war”, he said.
Argument became so heated that Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem decided to adjourn at midnight and resume talks at 11 a.m.to allow tempers to cool.
Finance ministers from the eurozone nations were locked in talks on Athens’ proposals which offer austerity measures in exchange for a fresh bailout.
BRUSSELS Euro zone leaders will fight to the finish to keep near-bankrupt Greece in the euro zone on Sunday after the European Union’s chairman cancelled a planned summit of all 28 EU leaders that would have been needed in case of a “Grexit”.
“If this is Europe, then we don’t want this Europe”, said Aristidis Dimoupulos, a marketing professor in Athens.
Reports out of the country said the coalition government was balking at further assistance for Greece. Germany and many other European countries rule out an outright debt cut, arguing it would be illegal under European treaties.
Over and over, finance ministers and top officials of the eurozone said the same thing as they arrived for the key meeting in Brussels on Greece’s bailout proposals – we don’t fully trust you to make good on your promises.