Monday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels had to deal with a potential crisis triggered by a victory in Greece for Syriza. This has led the group’s leading lights to predict a tough round of talks ahead, especially if the Greeks push agressively for debt forgiveness.
“We have common goals; ensuring that Greece as a nation can stand on its own two feet, clean up its finances, and become a jobs generator again. A Greece that is growing, and can pay its debts,” said the EU’s Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.
However all the initial reactions have sounded conciliatory with the Eurogroup’s president leaving a door open to easier debt terms for Athens.
“We have already done a lot to lift the debt burden for Greece over the last couple of years, in terms of interest, maturity and the length of the loans.
“If the Greeks commit to what we have agreed with, then, and if necessary – now, these words ‘if necessary’ refer to the debt sustainability, it’s too early to say – we’ve always said we would come back to debt sustainability issues after the completion of the fifth [bailout] review and that is still pending,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
That review comes at the end of February, by which time Syriza’s demands should be known, as will the gap between what it wants and what Greece’s creditors are likely to offer.