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German Finance Minister W. Schaeuble speaks with Chancellor A. Merkel (Image by Tobias Koch)

Greek bailout meeting “extraordinarily difficult”

European Finance Ministers have gathered in Brussels to discuss Greece’s newly proposed bailout plan.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras had received backing from his parliament on Friday night for a new compromise with Greek’s EU creditors. Some prominent members of Tsipras’s Syriza party have however disagreed with him or abstained from the vote, arguing that the plan included austerity measures contrary to last week’s referendum decision.

Talk in Brussels began on Saturday afternoon, with most EU Finance Ministers welcoming Greece’s new concessions.

Germany’s Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble has however expressed scepticism, saying that Greece had “destroyed” the trust of its creditors and calling Saturday’s meeting “extraordinarily difficult”.

Schaeuble had reportedly joked with his US counterpart Jack Lew on Thursday that he was willing to swap Greece with Puerto Rico, preferring the dollar union island in the Eurozone.

The talks are focused around negotiations between Greece and Germany, its largest creditor. A “no” from Germany would make the desired €53bn bailout package impossible.

A long day of negotiations is expected.

Speculations in the Greek media are suggesting that PM Tsipras may reshuffle his cabinet after many of his party members voiced their opposition to the new compromise. Among the dissenting voices in the Greek parliament are Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, Deputy Labour Minister Dimitris Stratoulis and the speaker of parliament, Zoe Constantopoulou.

Constantopoulou expressed the worry that Tsipras was “being totally blackmailed”, Reuters reports.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis resigned last week and has been replaced by former Oxford student Euclid Tsakalotos. Tsakalotos has been described by German Finance Minister Schaeuble as a more “conventional” choice.

 

See also:

Greek MP’s to vote on new bailout plan

 

Elisabeth Brahier

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