Friday 24 November 2017

Charm offensive brought to halt

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens

Mehreen Khan

Syriza's charm offensive has hit an abrupt halt.

After days of hot-footing around Europe in a bid to drum up support for a new bailout deal, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his "rock star" finance minister are finding that winning over the troika may be much more difficult than they had anticipated.

The European Central Bank's shock decision to stop accepting Greek bonds as collateral on Wednesday ramped up the political stakes before a crunch meeting between Greece's Yanis Varoufakis and his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble yesterday.

Despite having been in office for just over 10 days, Syriza have now been forced into a position that is nowhere near the 50pc debt write-off they had originally demanded from their European creditors.

All talk of default is now "banished" said Mr Varoufakis in Berlin yesterday.

Now that the warning shots have been fired from Frankfurt, the discussion has moved on to more conciliatory offers of "debt swaps" and emergency loans to help alleviate the country's euros 240bn repayment burden.

Irish Independent

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