The Greek government is misleading voters by mis-stating the position of EU officials in ongoing debt negotiations, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said on Tuesday.
Talks broke down on Sunday after both sides said there were still “significant gaps” between them, making it impossible to strike a deal on releasing the final 7.2-billion-euro tranche of bailout aid.
“I decided to stop the negotiations because the negotiations, given the Greek position, were leading nowhere,” said Juncker. i
“‘I’m not in favour, and the prime minister knows that, i’m not in favor of increasing VAT on medicaments and electricity, i do think that this would be a major mistake if Greece would be obliged to do that.
“I think the debate in Greece and outside Greece would be easier, if the Greek government would tell exactly what the commission, being one of the three institutions in charge of all this, are really proposing.
“I’m blaming the Greeks to tell things to the Greek public that are not consistent with what i told the Greek prime minister,” he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Commission proposals would add 10 percentage points to VAT on electricity.
Juncker, the head of the EU executive, has tried to position himself as an ‘honest broker’ in the talks, which have dragged on for nearly four months.
Syriza’s left-wing government was elected in January on a promise to bring an end to austerity measures.
The war of words leaves chances of a deal at Thursday’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers looking very bleak indeed.