I don’t know what the two finance ministers said behind closed doors, but the press conference run wild. Yanis Varoufakis was very clear: “Greek government will not negotiate with the Troika, only with official parters” he said during a joint press conference with the head of Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem in Athens Friday afternoon. Greek FinMin said also that the country “will not seek aid extension” and described the Troika as “flimsily-constructed & anti-European.”
He said further that the Greek government had “no intention to abstain from its pledges that there is no recognition of the bailout programs” and stressed “We won’t accept a continuation of this self-perpetuating crisis.”
Jeroen Dijsselbloem did not seemed impressed by that the Greek finance Minister said and rejected the Greek proposal of an international conference on the debt. He replied this venue already exists and “it is called the Eurogroup.”
The Eurozone chief said further that the two sides would decide what will happen next “before the program ends on February 28th.”
Here’s the Reuters report on the meeting between Dijsselbloem and Varoufakis:
Greece’s government will not cooperate with the EU and IMF mission bankrolling the country and will not seek an extension to the bailout programme, its finance minister said on Friday.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group who is in Athens for talks with the new government, said the two sides would decide what would happen next before the programme ends on February 28.
“This platform enabled us to win the confidence of the Greek people,” Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told reporters after their meeting. “Our first action as a government will not be to reject the rationale of questioning this programme through a request to extend it.”
Varoufakis said he had assured Dijsselbloem that Athens planned to implement reforms to make the economy more competitive and have balanced budgets but that it would not accept a “self-fed crisis” of deflation and non-viable debt.
In turn, Dijsselbloem said he had told the new government to respect the terms of the existing agreement between Greece and the eurozone and warned against taking unilateral steps, saying it was important not to reverse progress made so far.
He said continuing support from Europe depended on Greece respecting its obligations and it was up to to Athens to decide its position before moving forward jointly with the eurozone. (via The Guardian Live Blog)