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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Greece-Germany-Eurogroup: Varoufakis (Minister of Finance) - Letter to Chair of Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloem; 18 February; Berlin's Reaction, Rejection of Greek Proposal



Berlin rejects the Greek proposal - 'not a substantive proposal for a solution, it does not meet the Eurogroup's criteria; the letter requests bridge-funding without fulfilling the requirements of the programme'

Kathimerini :

Αρνητική είναι η πρώτη αντίδραση του Βερολίνου στο ελληνικό αίτημα για εξάμηνη παράταση της δανειακής σύμβασης. Σύμφωνα με τον εκπρόσωπο του γερμανικού υπουργείου Οικονομικών, Μάρτιν Γιέγκερ, "η επιστολή της Αθήνας δεν αποτελεί ουσιαστική πρόταση για λύση".

Ο κ. Γιέγκερ τόνισε ότι η ελληνική πρόταση "στην πραγματικότητα στοχεύει σε μία χρηματοδότηση-γέφυρα, χωρίς να εκπληρώνει τις απαιτήσεις του προγράμματος". «Το έγγραφο δεν ανταποκρίνεται στα κριτήρια, τα οποία συμφωνήθηκαν στο Eurogroup την Δευτέρα» δήλωσε χαρακτηριστικά ο εκπρόσωπος του κ. Σόιμπλε.

Kathimerini Update - Eurogroup on Friday will reveal who does and who doesn't want a solution

BBC Report

'A commentary in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says: "The Greek government appears to believe it can treat its partners like fools," accusing the Greek government of using Brussels like a stage for theatrics, adding that many people have simply had enough'.

Frankfurter Allgemeine article

Deutsche Welle report (English)

Varoufakis' Letter in English (from I Avgi newspaper)

"Athens, February 18, 2015

Dear President of the Eurogroup,

Over the last five years, the people of Greece have exerted remarkable efforts in economic adjustment. The new government is committed to a broader and deeper reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, achieving debt sustainability and financial stability, enhancing social fairness and mitigating the significant social cost of the ongoing crisis.

The Greek authorities recognise that the procedures agreed by the previous governments were interrupted by the recent presidential and general elections and that, as a result, several of the technical arrangements have been invalidated. The Greek authorities honour Greece's financial obligations to all its creditors as well as state our intention to cooperate with our partners in order to avert technical impediments in the context of the Master Facility Agreement which we recognise as binding vis-a-vis its financial and procedural content.

In this context, the Greek authorities are now applying for the extension of the Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement for a period of six months from its termination during which period we shall proceed jointly, and making best use of given flexibility in the current arrangement, toward its successful conclusion and review on the basis of the proposals of, on the one hand, the Greek government and, on the other, the institutions.

The purpose of the requested six-month extension of the Agreement's duration is:

(a) To agree the mutually acceptable financial and administrative terms the implementation of which, in collaboration with the institutions, will stabilise Greece's fiscal position, attain appropriate primary fiscal surpluses, guarantee debt stability and assist in the attainment of fiscal targets for 2015 that take into account the present economic situation.

(b) To ensure, working closely with our European and international partners, that any new measures be fully funded while refraining from unilateral action that would undermine the fiscal targets, economic recovery and financial stability.

(c) To allow the European Central Bank to re-introduce the waiver in accordance with its procedures and regulations.

(d) To extend the availability of the EFSF bonds held by the HFSF for the duration of the Agreement.

(e) To commence work between the technical teams on a possible new Contract for Recovery and Growth that the Greek authorities envisage between Greece, Europe and the International Monetary Fund which could follow the current Agreement.

(f) To agree on supervision under the EU and ECB framework and, in the same spirit, with the International Monetary Fund for the duration of the extended Agreement.

(G) To discuss means of enacting the November 2012 Eurogroup decision regarding possible further debt measures and assistance for implementation after the completion of the extended Agreement and as part of the follow-up Contract.

With the above in mind, the Greek government expresses its determination to cooperate closely with the European Union's institutions and with the International Monetary Fund in order: (a) to attain fiscal and financial stability and (b) to enable the Greek government to introduce the substantive, far-reaching reforms that are needed to restore the living standards of millions of Greek citizens through sustainable economic growth, gainful employment and social cohesion.

Sincerely,

Yanis Varoufakis

Minister of Finance

Hellenic Republic".

From Kathimerini (in Greek)

Article in English

From Avgi

Με θέμα την παράταση της δανειακής σύμβασης όπως περιγράφει το λιτό κείμενο-αίτημα που υπέβαλε επισήμως η ελληνική πλευρά και στο οποίο δεν υπάρχει πουθενά η λέξη "memorandum of understanding" (μνημόνιο) συνεδριάζει νωρίς το απόγευμα το EuroWorking Group. Σκοπός της συνεδρίασης είναι η αποδοχή ή μη της ελληνικής πρότασης. Αν γίνει αποδεκτή, αύριο στις 4 μ.μ. ώρα Ελλάδας συγκαλείται Eurogroup – με φυσική παρουσία και όχι με τηλεδιάσκεψη – προκειμένου να ασχοληθεί λεπτομερέστερα με τις ελληνικές θέσεις.

Reuters

"A government official told Reuters that Athens had asked for an extension to its "Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement" with the euro zone. However, he insisted the government was proposing different terms from its current bailout obligations. Greece had committed to maintain fiscal balance during the interim period, take immediate reforms to fight tax evasion and corruption, and measures to deal with what Athens calls its "humanitarian crisis" and kick-start economic growth, he said. In the document seen by Reuters, Greece pledged to meet its financial obligations to all creditors, recognize the existing EU/IMF program as the legally binding framework and refrain from unilateral action that would undermine the fiscal targets. Crucially, it accepted that the extension would be monitored by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, a climbdown by Tsipras who had vowed to end cooperation with "troika" inspectors accused of inflicting deep economic and social damage on Greece"

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