Greece not to negotiate debt with ‘anti-European’ troika

31 Jan 2015


The new government in Greece has said it had no plans to deal with the 'anti-European' troika – the EU Commission, European Central Bank and IMF – the country's finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, told the head of the eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers yesterday.

Greece's rejection of any further dealings with the three has led to fears of major tensions in negotiations with Europe in the weeks ahead, and raised the spectre of potential financial upheaval.

He further added that Greece would not call for extension of its current bailout programme, when it ends in February, and instead called for a debt deal negotiated between Europe's governments.

The move has raised questions over Greece's ability to make debt repayments after the bailout programme ends and is also seen as threatening the future of ECB funding for its banking system, heavily dependent on agreement with the troika.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Greek finance minister made it clear at the end of a tense press conference that while his government would seek the ''best possible agreement'' with the ''statutory, legal institutions'' of the euro zone, EU and IMF, it would not deal with the troika as a group.

''We do not aim to work with a tripartite committee whose objective is to implement a programme which we consider to have an anti-European spirit and that according to the European Parliament is a committee built on shaky foundations,'' the Greek minister said.

Meanwhile, reported that since Sunday, all eyes had been transfixed by the political drama in Greece. As bailout countries Ireland and Greece had much in common, yet much which divided them.

While Ireland had exited its troika bailout with commendable plaudits and now showed recovery signs and job creation, the story in Greece had been and continued to be very different.

The severe budgetary cuts and reforms the troika had demanded as the price of the 2010 Greek bailout had essentially impoverished the country to the point of democratic revolution.

Syriza, a radical far-left party which 10 years ago scraped 4 per cent of the Greek vote, had swept to power with a clear mandate to renegotiate the country's €240 billion debt.

Financial markets as also the EU political establishment were understandably nervous and even as European leaders insisted that Greece must meet its debt obligations, privately they expressed the more pragmatic view that democracy demanded that concessions would be forthcoming.

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