Friday, February 13, 2015

Athens and Brussels search for common ground in bailout row

by Helen Maguire & Christine Pirovolakis

German Press Agency (DPA)

February 13, 2015

After weeks of tensions over Greek demands to renegotiate its bailout, the country's creditors began preparing Friday for negotiations - but with time running out, many in Greece fear any changes will be mostly cosmetic.

When the leftist SYRIZA party of Alexis Tsipras won elections last month, the hope was that, as prime minister, he would stick to his campaign promises and scrap the harsh austerity that has plagued Greece since it signed up to an international financial rescue.

The two sides are miles apart. Greece's bullish finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, failed even to agree with his eurozone colleagues on the next steps, at initial Eurogroup talks on Wednesday.

A day later however, the tide began to turn, as Tsipras and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem agreed on a "technical assessment" of the Greece's existing commitments and the new reform path Athens wants to chart.


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