The European Central Bank was the latest stop for Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis as he tours the region searching for a solution to his country’s financial crisis.
After Wednesday’s encounter with ECB head Mario Draghi, he spoke of “very fruitful” talks on the bank providing emergency funding to some Greek banks.
Varoufakis also promised real reforms from the new government: “In a way that has never been tried before and with a determination that was always absent.”
He told reporters“I had the opportunity to present to [Draghi] our government’s utter and unwavering determination that it can’t possibly be business as usual in Greece, both in terms of the reforms that we need in order to end the various malignities that have afflicted the Greek economy and society for so many years. And also in terms of a programme that has been leading to or fueling the deflationary crisis in our nation, thus causing a major humanitarian crisis.”
We have also learned that Varoufakis has met a senior International Monetary Fund official in Paris at the weekend, but did not discuss renegotiating its debts.
The IMF is part of the so-called troika which lent billions to stop Athens going bankrupt and which is hated by ordinary Greeks for demanding austerity and spending cuts in return.
Varoufakis’ next meeting is the big one with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin on Thursday.
Germany has to approve a negotiated solution to reduce Greece’s debt burden and strongly opposes any reversal of austerity measures.
A document seen by Reuters prepared by Berlin for a meeting of senior eurozone finance officials on Thursday stresses that Greece must not roll back any of the cutbacks and reforms made so far in the effort to improve bloated public finances and regain market trust.
It also demands that troika oversight continue, which the Greek government has totally rejected.
Symela Touchtidou, the euronews business correspondent in Athens, concluded: “As the Greek finance minister continues his bilateral meetings in Europe, people back home wait on tenterhooks for the outcome of the negotiations. Everyone hopes for a deal that will lift some of the debt burden. But at the same time, there is growing concern about what happens if there is no deal.”