Millennium Post

Greek Govt refuses to meet IMF & ECB men, rejects fresh loan offers

Athens had been promised another 7.2 billion euros in funds from the European Union, the IMF and and the European Central Bank if it completed reforms required by its lenders by February 28.

But hardline Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said that despite warnings that Greece would shortly run out of money, his government preferred to do without the instant fresh cash, and instead renegotiate the entire bailout package.

“This government was elected on the basis of analytically questioning the very logic of the programme now being applied,” he said, referring to the reforms and budget cuts demanded by Athens’ global creditors.

“Our first act as government will not be to reject the logic of questioning this programme by requesting to extend it,” he added. The leftist minister spoke after talks with Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the first between the anti-austerity government and the creditors behind Greece’s huge bailout.

At a strained press conference with Dijsselbloem, Varoufakis also said Athens was willing to negotiate with its lenders but not with the so-called “troika” of EU, IMF and ECB auditors who he said were merely a “committee built on rotten foundations”.

Dijsselbloem warned: “Taking unilateral steps or ignoring previous arrangements is not the way forward.” He said before arriving in the Greek capital that the new government, led by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s hard-left Syriza party, has been raising expectations it cannot meet.

Tsipras was elected on Sunday on a platform of ending austerity and cutting Greece’s debt in half.

Tsipras will next week travel to fellow eurozone members Italy and France as he starts the process of trying to renegotiate the deeply unpopular bailout, which was granted to avoid a financial meltdown in 2010. Varoufakis will also begin a tour of European capitals next week, meeting his British, French and Italian counterparts.
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