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Monday, 16 February 2015

GREECE: Eurogroup Press Conference on Greece, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Q and A and other speakers from the Three Institutions



Just watched live press Conference, Jeroen Dijsselbloem and questions.

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/ebs/live.cfm?page=2

My notes:

Dijsselbloem expressed the Eurogroup's disappointment, that there was no firm common ground. The best step forward was considered to be for the Greek government to seek an extension of the current programme.

More time is needed, whatever one calls the extension. Different words, same solution? Not just a debate about words. Rules and regulations indicate this is an extension, and "a bridge arrangement".

There have to be safeguards and commitments of the main features and measures, no roll-back of measures, unless agreed; no derailment of budgetary requirements; unequivocal requirement for Greece to honour its commitments to creditors. No unilateral steps.

"It's up to the Greeks if they want to take up the offer of an extension". There is some flexibility, if  there is serious commitment to successfully complete the extension of the programme.

Commitment very important. Greek government must request extension of programme."Best way forward", extension of current programme. Once commitment made, then some flexibility can be explored.

'Logical, not ideological'. Stressed again and again.

Bottom line, no agreement on texts at this point.

IMF disbursements depend on implementation. Disbursement of funds takes place after succcessful review by the "three institutions".

Any programme involves money and strict conditions. Conditionality.

This week only is the possible time frame. If the request comes in from the Greek government for an extension of the programme, with the necessary required conditions to rebuild trust, the Eurogoup will look at it. If positive, there is a possibility of another Eurogroup meeting on Friday.

Eurogroup unclear what Greek government wants, what will be the fiscal effect of their proposals. This will take time.

Message to Greek Government: Eurogroup ready to work constructively to prepare for a request for a programme extension and on the process

A new programme would not be very different from the present one: strict conditionality, a stable financial environment requiring reforms, both popular and unpopular. All this needed for Greece to become financially independent.

Greek response, Kathimerini

Panos Kammenos @PanosKammenos

Δέν πρόκειται να αιτηθούμε καμία παράταση μνημονίου έχουμε λαϊκή εντολή να πάμε μέχρι τέλους.ΟΛΟΙ ΜΑΖΙ ΟΙ ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ ΛΕΜΕ ΟΧΙ. ΔΕΝ ΕΚΒΙΑΖΟΜΑΣΤΕ

FT Greece bailout talks collapse in acrimony
Athens strongly objects to bailout extension - "A crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers over the future of Greece’s bailout broke down in acrimony after Athens angrily rejected the bloc’s insistence that it agree to complete its current  €172bn rescue as “absurd” and “unacceptable”.

Avgi: η ελληνική πλευρά απέρριψε ως παράλογο και απαράδεκτο το σχέδιο παράτασης του μνημονίου που παρουσιάστηκε.

Yanus Varoufakis, in his statement after the main press conference (I only saw the last part of the Varoufakis statement) emphasised the Greek government's difficulty in trying to convince Europe to "cut its losses with a programme that wasn't working". He seemed confident that both sides would   "find the phrases" necessary to prevent an impasse. But which side will spell out the precise flexibilities and conditionalities, which seem so nebulous?

Zoe Mavroudi ‏@zoemavroudi  Varoufakis plays card of being open to compromise while sticking to his guns.

Peter Spiegel ‏@SpiegelPeter Clear as mud

Updates from The Guardian

Reuters

Kathimerini 1

Kathimerini 2

Svenska Dagbladet

Reuters again: a problem of semantics, vague oral presentaions, a lack of written proposals

Final update, Reuters

"Seasoned Eurocrats said Tsipras and his team seemed unprepared, unrealistic and oblivious to the dangers they are courting by refusing to roll over a 240-billion-euro credit deal and demanding easier terms".

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