So what exactly did the head of the Eurogroup whisper to the new Greek finance minister after their first tense meeting in Athens, causing him to say “wow”?
I think our finance minister did well; there is such a thing as national pride
Some media reports say Jeroen Dijsselbloem told the minister, Yanis Varoufakis: “You’ve just killed the troika.” Other reports say he said: “You’re making a big mistake.”
What is certain is the level of tension.
In Athens people gave their reaction.
One businessman, Alexander Sakkas; said: “I think our finance minister did well; there is such a thing as national pride.”
Another businessman, Sarantos Chamloulos, said: “There are also statements from the European Parliament that the troika has been unsuccessful in its handling of the issues, so I believe the minister is simply repeating that.”
But an economics professor from Cyprus, Nikiforos Iordanou, said: “I believe the government does not have many options.
“So I think they will flip-flop; whether they will do so in five months, three or two, they will do a U-turn.”
It seems to be anybody’s guess how the fragile relationship between the new government in Athens and its European partners will develop in the days and weeks to come.
But Friday’s frosty meeting is likely to be just a taste of things to come.