16 February 2015

Eurozone united on extension of current programme

A pretty resounding line coming from today’s Eurogroup meeting: Athens is increasingly isolated while its creditors have made it clear that Greece  must continue in its current programme and honour its previous commitments.

Open Europe’s Vincenzo Scarpetta and Mats Persson summarise how it went down for Greece pretty well:

Here’s what Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem had to say in the press conference as the meeting broke up:

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was already making the media rounds this morning saying that he was “very sceptical” that a deal could be reached. Arriving at the Eurogroup, he said, “The Greek government has apparently not moved,” and left the talks without further comment.

Wary of boosting support for the anti-bailout True Finns ahead of the Finnish parliamentary elections in April, Finland is also taking a strong line. Arriving at the meeting, the Finnish Finance Minister, Antti Rinne, said, “The ball is in Greece’s court. Greece must must submit an application for a rescue package and programme to continue. Otherwise, the country cannot get more support.”

The sentiment was echoed by Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb:

Meanwhile if Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was expecting solidarity from his Southern counterparts he was sorely disappointed. Leaving the meeting, the Italian Finance Minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, gave Greece nothing.

Neither did the French Finance Minister, Michel Sapin:

Nor did the Portguese Finance Minister, Maria Luís Albuquerque:

There wasn’t much leeway for Varoufakis from the ‘Institutions’ either. Here’s what Valdis Dombrovski,Vice President of the European Commission, and Christine Lagarde of the IMF had to say: