09:45 GMT24 February 2020
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    Greece's Gordian Knot: Syriza Tackles Austerity (404)

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel will face a tough choice on Monday when she will meet with Greece's representatives and its key EU creditors in Brussels to agree debt relief terms, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in an article published Sunday in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Athens needs to negotiate a reforms deal with its money lenders from Europe and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    In the article, the Greek finance minister warned Merkel against listening to "sirens in her government that are calling on her to throw the Greek government overboard." He urged her to work closer with Athens that wanted to be back on track toward recovery. "This choice, I’m afraid, is hers to make," Varoufakis said.

    He added however that his left-wing government would decline EU’s financial lifeline and put through a package of profound economic reforms like an "automatic debt brake" and debt swaps inside the troika of international lenders – the IMF, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the 19-nation Eurogroup.

    Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2015 (SPIEF 2015) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 19, 2015
    © REUTERS / Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
    This, he said, would allow Athens to avoid "taking a single additional euro" from lenders and eventually will help to break the "vicious circle that began in 2010."

    Varoufakis stressed that a new bailout tranche for Greece would not solve the problem of its huge outstanding debt but only postpone it like the first aid program did five years ago.

    Varoufakis said earlier the Greek government had no money to repay its $1.8-billion debt to IMF due on June 30. If it defaults, Greece may be pushed out of the single currency euro in summer.

    Greece was one of the worst-hit countries in the Eurozone in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It owed Eurozone creditors 53 billion euro under the first 2010-2012 bailout program and 142 billion euro under the second package of bailout deals signed in 2012. Greece's overall debt is currently estimated at some $350 billion, of which $270 billion is owed to its international creditors.

    Greece's Gordian Knot: Syriza Tackles Austerity (404)


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