Germany's finance minister says 'Greece has moved backwards'

Wolfgang Schaeuble REUTERS/John KolesidisGerman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble listens to a news conference in the Greek ministry of finance in Athens July 18, 2013.

Greece’s bailout negotiations are as confusing and tense as ever on Thursday, but at least one key player in the talks is sure how things are going.

There were brief reports of a staff-level agreement earlier (meaning that the technical teams had agreed on something which needed to be signed off by the political leadership), but German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble poured a massive bucket of cold water over those suggestions.

Schaeuble said that the talks weren’t making progress, and that “Greece has moved backwards” in its negotiating stance. That’s not a positive thing to hear after an all-night negotiating session.

Greece needs to unlock €7.2 billion (£5.13 billion, $US8.06 billion) to make debt repayments that are due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) one June 30 and European Central Bank (ECB) on July 20. Collectively, they’re worth about €5 billion ($US5.60 billion, £3.56 billion), money that the Greek state doesn’t have.

Without a deal soon, or at least a proposed deal that the sides feel they can agree on, it will be impossible to avoid missing the June 30 payment, since any deal has to be approved by Syriza, the lead governing party, the Greek parliament as a whole, and the sceptical German parliament.

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