Managing Director of International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde was surprised to find Yanis Varoufakis hiding in a bush next to other Easter Eggs. The Greek Finance Minister had asked her for an urgent meeting on this Easter Sunday to talk “negotiations” and “reforms” as time and cash are running up for the debt-ridden country.
According to a statement issued by the Greek Finance Ministry, Varoufakis and Lagarde are going to “hold informal discussion on the reforms program of Greece.” On Monday, Varoufakis will meet with officials of the US-administration Nathan Sheets, deputy Treasury Secretary for international affairs and Caroline Atkinson, Deputy Assistant to President Barack Obama and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics and former IMF official.
While the ministry’s statement did not reference to the discussions agenda, the meeting takes place just a few days before a €448-million payment by Athens to the IMF is due.
However, according to government sources payment delay is neither an option nor it will be on the agenda of the talks.
“The problem is the rigid attitude of the IMF during the technical teams discussions,” Greek media report citing government sources.
Varoufakis will reportedly address exactly this problem and ask for a change of attitude.
Othe media speculate, that Varoufakis would ask for the IMF’s intervention in the EU, so that an agreement will be reached during the two Euro Working Group meetings on April 8th and 9th, so that a sub-disbursement of the last bailout tranche of €7.5 billion will be released.
The Greek side claims that there is no liquidity problem to meet its obligations in April but the problem will arise soon, as Athens pays tranches to IMF and to ECB through self-funding. It has not received bailout tranche since August 2014.
Media report that Greece does not want an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting after the Euro Working Group in upcoming week. The country allegedly wants the regular Eurogroup meeting scheduled for April 24th to take a political decision for bailout tranche release.
Several government officials told the media, that there should be an agreement with creditors next week, a sub-disbursement release as there is “approach” between Greece and the creditors on several reforms issues. Other issues like labor and social security matters could be discussed later, in June for example.
The meeting between Varoufakis and Lagarde is scheduled for 6 p.m. Washington time, that is short after midnight Greek time.
PS rumors that Varoufakis will go to the meeting dressed as Easter Bunny do not confirm and lack any basis.