Greece promises compromises in upcoming EU debt talks

During his Washington visit Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis promises Greek cooperation, expressing angst at reforms pushed by Greece’s EU creditors

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced that his country would make compromises to reach a deal in next week's EU debt talks. In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Varoufakis promised Greece would be open to "urgent and extensive" reforms, though not to the extent demanded by EU giant Germany.

"The answer is simple: We will compromise, we will compromise, and we will compromise in order to come to a speedy agreement, but we are not going to be compromised."

Varoufakis noted that Greece hoped to reach a deal in order to fulfill debt payments to its EU creditors in time.

"The negotiation must succeed, it will be such a shame that this agreement is not concluded in the next few days,” he said

However, IMF and EU officials warned Greece that negotiations would not serve as an excuse to delay approaching payment schedules.

After meeting with Varoufakis in Washington, International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde said that Greece’s debt negotiations did not excuse it from bailout payments scheduled in the coming weeks.
"We have never had an advanced economy asking for payment delays," Lagarde said
"Payment delays had not been granted by the board of the IMF in the last 30 years and it was eventually granted to a couple of developing countries and that delay was not followed by very productive results.”

Though there has been no meeting set between Varoufakis and U.S. President Barack Obama yet, his visit to Washington is believed to be due to Greece’s search for international creditors outside the EU.

After holding meetings with Lagarde and Varoufakis, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Greece against wasting time by seeking loans from the international community.

"The Europeans have said, OK, we are ready to do it [lend money] until 2020... If you find someone else, whether it's in Beijing, in Moscow, in Washington DC, or in New York who will lend you [Greece] money, ok, fine, we would be happy. But it's difficult to find someone who is lending you in this situation amounts [of] €200bn."

Schaeuble noted that due to Greece’s credit rating was downgraded by S&P Wednesday, international loans would see Greek borrowing costs soar by 3.5 points to 27 percent.

Greece is scheduled to pay the IMF $1.06 billion and the EU $216 million next month.

TRTWorld and agencies