Greece: Varoufakis, liquidity is drying up

Deal with EU appears distant amid deadlock in reform talks

17 April, 10:58

    Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

    (ANSAmed) - WASHINGTON - Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, acknowledged that his country is seriously short of funds, while stressing that "Greece is not toying with the idea of Grexit", Greece's exit from the Eurozone. Greece hopes to reach an agreement with the Eurozone by the end of June, Varoufakis maintained during an address at Washington's Brookings Institute. The minister added that he is ready to accept all conditions which "make sense". Europe must admit that the programme has worsened Greek problems. According to Varoufakis, austerity policies result in Europe exporting the crisis to the rest of the world.

    With negotiations between Greece and its creditors effectively deadlocked, a potential deal that could unlock crucially needed funding appeared more distant than ever on Thursday with doubts appearing about whether an agreement can be reached in time for a Eurogroup planned for May 11, well after the next scheduled eurozone finance ministers' summit in Riga next Friday, which had been the original deadline. As daily Kathimerini online reports, even representatives of the European Commission, which has been Greece's closest ally in the talks, appeared to be losing their patience.

    In comments on Thursday spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the EC was "not satisfied" with the level of progress in talks and called for work to "intensify" ahead of next week's Eurogroup summit. Sources indicated that the so-called Brussels Group, comprising officials from the government and Greece's creditors, was to convene in the Belgian capital on Saturday. But a European official told Kathimerini he had no such information and that talks were likely to resume on Monday. The aim is for that meeting to yield a detailed list of reforms that could form the basis for a staff-level agreement and potentially lead to the disbursement of much-needed aid. But the two sides remain far apart.

    In a statement to Reuters on Thursday Tsipras highlighted several points of agreement - on areas such as tax collection, corruption and redistributing the tax burden - but also conceded that the two sides disagreed on four major issues: labor rules, pension reform, a hike in value-added taxes and privatizations, which he referred to as "development of state property" rather than asset sales. Despite the differences and "the cacophony and erratic leaks and statements in recent days from the other side," Tsipras said he was "firmly optimistic" his government would reach an agreement with its creditors by the end of April. (ANSAmed).

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