April 2015 – GREECE – With time and money running out, Greece’s finance minister was set to warn Barack Obama last night that without help his country could trigger a global financial crisis. In a White House meeting, Yanis Varoufakis was expected to ask the US president to intercede on Greece’s behalf with the International Monetary Fund to stave off looming repayments. His argument was: “Is the Greek financial saga — a pittance — worth the unraveling of the entire global financial system? If not, then please weigh in, and get the IMF to back off on demands it is insisting Athens meet.” –The Times
Greece risks running out of cash by April 20 unless it secures fresh aid, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday, leaving it little time to convince skeptical creditors it is committed to economic reform. After talks with EU leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the past week, Athens said it will present a package of reforms to its euro zone partners by Monday in the hope of unlocking aid and avoiding a messy default. “It will be done at the latest by Monday,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Mega TV. Merkel did not reveal details from her meetings with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, but she did tell members of her conservative party at a closed-door meeting in parliament on Tuesday that Greece needs to work with the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission to unlock the cash injection it needs. “Time is short,” she said, according to party allies.
Comments from the German foreign minister and the chairman of euro zone finance ministers suggested slightly more optimism among Greece’s partners that it may be moving closer to meeting the conditions needed to receive more cash. “That process is moving once again, I say with some cautious satisfaction. Now there’s hard work happening on complementary additions to the (reform) list,” said Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister. “That they’re all but broke, we knew already,” he told RTL Nieuws television. “But my message to the Greeks is then every time again: So then, work with us as quickly as possible on an adjustment to the program.” Athens is hoping the finance ministers will approve its list and allow the return of about 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in profits made by the European Central Bank on Greek bonds, the source familiar with the matter said. –Reuters