Friday, February 13, 2015

Greek Debt Standoff Awaits a Decisive Move

by Landon Thomas Jr. & Jack Ewing

New York Times

February 12, 2015

Clad in snug black pants and his signature untucked shirt, the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, sauntered into a conference room in the Berlin headquarters of the German finance ministry.

Seated in a wheelchair awaiting him was Germany’s dour and all-powerful finance chief, Wolfgang Schäuble. The personification of fiscal discipline, Mr. Schauble was flanked by several officials, dossiers at the ready.

With Greece about to run out of money and in need of German support for emergency funds, Mr. Varoufakis appeared to be outmanned and outgunned. Nonetheless, he was the one who delivered the ultimatum in the meeting: Renegotiate Greece’s €240 billion bailout deal or risk a mutually destructive disaster.

Mr. Schäuble’s answer was a firm “no.” Greece must follow the rules. It was a response repeated by eurozone finance ministers during tense debt talks in Brussels this week, a showdown that will continue on Monday.


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