Saturday 18 November 2017

Greece crisis: Ireland has been saddled with preposterous amount of debt, we should seek a deal - Greek finance minister Varoufakis

An elderly man finds old clothes as he searches in a garbage bin in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
An elderly man finds old clothes as he searches in a garbage bin in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis talks to the media as he leaves the Finance Ministry building on his motorbike in Athens, Greece, July 1, 2015. A defiant Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras urged Greeks on Wednesday to reject an international bailout deal, wrecking any prospect of repairing broken relations with EU partners before a referendum on Sunday that may decide Greece's future in Europe. REUTERS/Marko Djurica TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A protestor shouts slogans during a demonstration for the "NO" campaign on July 1, 2015 in Thessaloniki. Nearly one in two Greeks intend to vote 'No' in a weekend referendum on the terms of the country's bailout, but capital control groups are boosting the 'Yes' camp, a poll showed today. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called on Greeks to vote 'No' in the referendum, which will ask voters whether they want to accept the latest deal from Athens' creditors - a deal he has branded as "humiliating." AFP PHOTO / SAKIS MITROLIDISSAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP/Getty Images
Pensioners sit on the steps outside a National Bank branch in Athens, Greece, July 3, 2015.REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Cypriot supporters of Greece's radical left Syriza party take part in a demonstration in support of the Greek people on July 1, 2015 in the capital Nicosia. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed to go ahead with a controversial bailout referendum despite pressure from European leaders as they declined to consider any fresh debt offer before Sunday's vote. AFP PHOTO / IAKOVOS HATZISTAVROUIAKOVOS HATZISTAVROU/AFP/Getty Images
A Greek flag flies atop the parliament building as people watch as demonstrators from the Greek Communist party gather during a rally supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum in Athens, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Demonstrators destroy a European flag during a rally by supporters of the no vote to the upcoming referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Eurozone finance ministers decided Wednesday to break off talks on more aid for Greece until after it holds a weekend referendum, even as the Greek government pressed ahead with plans to let the people decide whether to accept more austerity measures in exchange for a rescue deal. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A security guard removes a banner placed earlier by protesters from a balcony of the Finance Ministry in Athens, Greece, July 1, 2015
Demonstrators shout slogans during a rally by supporters of the 'No' vote to the upcoming referendum in the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Wednesday, July 1, 2015
A man waits for part of his pension at a bank in Crete yesterday
For Mr Tsipras, if voters back a bailout plan that he has scorned, his government is likely to fall
A woman walks past posters reading ‘NO’ in Athens ahead of the referendum
A demonstrator walks along a road with leaflets reading 'no' scattered on the ground, following a demonstration supporting the no vote on the upcoming referendum, outside of the European Union office in central Athens, on Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Ailish O'Hora

Ailish O'Hora

Ireland has been saddled with a preposterous amount of debt and should seek a deal with other bailout states like Greece, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said today.

"We should seek a sensible debt relief exercise...not just for us," he added, but countries like Portugal," he told RTE in an interview on Morning Ireland.

Read more: Referendum rivals in Athens clash

Ireland has the fourth highest government debt to GDP ratio in the EU, Greece has the highest with Italy and Portugal in between.

A pensioner is helped by a bank manager after collapsing while waiting along with dozens of other pensioners outside a National Bank in Athens, Greece, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A pensioner is helped by a bank manager after collapsing while waiting along with dozens of other pensioners outside a National Bank in Athens, Greece, July 2, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

The IMF has said that given the level of money that Greece owes, a debt deal, including a write-off, may be necessary.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said that Greece, like Ireland, should look for better terms in relation to its bailout loans but not a write-off.

A Greek flag flies atop the parliament building as people watch as demonstrators from the Greek Communist party gather during a rally supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum in Athens, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A Greek flag flies atop the parliament building as people watch as demonstrators from the Greek Communist party gather during a rally supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum in Athens, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Germany, one of Greece's biggest creditors, has ruled out any negotiations ahead of Sunday's referendum vote on bailout terms.

Mr Varoufakis said Greece had signed a number of "fake" deals with the EU/IMF/ECB at this stage and he also denied that his Government had failed the Greek people.

Demonstrators burn a European Union flag during a rally supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum outside European Union office in Athens, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Demonstrators burn a European Union flag during a rally supporting the no vote for the upcoming referendum outside European Union office in Athens, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

"We didn't fail, Europe failed.....it didn't listen to reason," he added, although he admitted that his Syriza government had made mistakes.

He said on several occasions that there would be a new bailout deal with creditors and that there had been private discussions.

Greece owes its creditors over €250bn and the Greek people's ATM withdrawals have been capped at €60 a day.

Pensioners are struggling to access cash at closed banks and the people will vote in a referendum on Sunday on whether to support bailout terms with polls too close to call a result, although the yes side is shading it.

"Even if is a yes vote, Syriza will remain the only credible party," he added.

Mr Varoufakis also denied that Greek banks were insolvent and insisted they would open again on Tuesday.

Greece's economy is in free fall and the banking system has all but collapsed.

Constantine Michalos, head of the Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, said lenders are simply running out of money, the Daily Telegraph reported.

"We are reliably informed that the cash reserves of the banks are down to €500m. Anybody who thinks they are going to open again on Tuesday is day-dreaming. The cash would not last an hour," he said.

"We are in an extremely dangerous situation. Greek companies have been excluded from the electronic transfers of Europe's Target2 system. The entire Greek business community is unable to import anything, and without raw materials they can't produce anything," he said.

Earlier Mr Varoufakis admitted that the couintry was in a war-like situation.

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