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Varoufakis meets Schaeuble, urges Merkel to deliver a “Speech of Hope” for Greece

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble meet Monday morning in Berlin. The meeting was reportedly arranged over the weekend, allegedly after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker refused to respond to a phone call request by Prime minister Alexis Tsipras.

So, what does Varoufakis seek from a meeting with Schaeuble? To break the deadlock in negotiations with creditors, and even ask him to intermediate to Chancellor Angela Merkel to hold “A Speech of Hope for Greece.”

In an article to Project Syndicate, Varoufakis calls on Angela Merkel to hold a symbolic  Speech of Hope for Greece and the Greeks

“to mark a sea change, a break with the past five years of adding new loans on top of already unsustainable debt, conditional on further doses of punitive austerity.”

Varoufakis proposal to Merkel is not “crazy” or “weird.” Already on May 20th, KTG had a report about Merkel’s plan to adress the nation in support of Greece. But the Chancellery intention was actually aiming to address the German nation, the some 100 lawmakers in the own coalition government who apparently oppose any further support to Greece.
In his article to the Project Syndicate, the Greek FinMin stresses among others that

“The Greek government is presenting the European Union with a set of proposals for deep reforms, debt management, and an investment plan to kick-start the economy. Greece is indeed ready and willing to enter into a compact with Europe that will eliminate the deformities that caused it to be the first domino to fall in 2010.”

Greek proposals on creditors’ deaf ears

But Greek government’s proposals have fallen so far into the creditors’ deaf ears.
It is apparently a €1.5-billion measures gap between the creditors’ and the Greeks’ proposals that makes the difference and hinders both sides from reaching an agreement. It is the same amount that Greece has to pay to the IMF by end of June after it decided last Friday to “bundle” the four payments into one. Monday morning, Labour Minister Panos Skourletis repeated Greece’s position that there would be no payment to the IMF without a deal with creditors.
“End of June, priority is the payment of wages and pensions, then we’ll see what will happen with the payment to the IMF,” Skourletis told private Mega TV.
Can some progress be reached by next Wednesday? Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is reportedly to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande on the sideline of the EU leaders Summit on June 10th in Brussels. But signals from the EU claim that such a meeting would take place only if some progress is reached by then.
Currently it seems that there is a deadlock that neither side considers to break it up by Greece accepting more and creditors demanding less.
At the G7 meeting, on Sunday, the conservative EC President, Jean-Claude Juncker said that he was disappointed by Tsipras and that he considered him as a friend but also friends have to stick to some rules.
“Juncker voiced exasperation with Tsipras, who denounced the lenders’ terms as “absurd” in the Greek parliament on Friday, and said that while he considered Tsipras a friend, “in order to remain friends one has to respect some minimum rules”.
Greece’ European friend Juncker “reaffirmed that a Greek exit from the single currency area was not an option but cautioned that that did not mean he could ‘pull a rabbit out of a hat’ to prevent it.”And when asked when the final deadline was for a deal with Greece Juncker replied: “For sure there will be a deadline.” But he gave no date, Reuters notes.The Greek side insists that there is no deadline. Despite the deadline of June 30th for the IMF payments. But then again, the IMF would still need one month to declare the Greek non-payment a “credit event.”

No joint press conference is to take place after Varoufakis-Schaeuble meeting that started 11:30 am GR time and is still continuing as one 1 o’ clock. As a spokesman of the German Finance Ministry said the meeting is a “pure talking“.
Of course, it’s talking. Nobody would expect Varoufakis and Schaeuble to meet to play cards on a Monday morning…
PS Government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis denied that Tsiras had call Juncker on Saturday asking for a phone conversation. But it’s the finesses hidden in the small letters  “Tsipras’ and Junckers’ aides spoke with each other,” Sakallaridis said.

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  1. «urges Merkel to deliver a “Speech of Hope” for Greece» another pathetic and masochistic statement form Varoufakis. This is like asking the Bully in school to make a speech about being friendly to your colleges in the playground.
    Time to stop talking about “European partners”, “European family” and accept things as they are…