All of the eurozone’s finance minister’s meet today, with just one subject in mind: Greece.
The extraordinary meeting of the Eurogroup (the body of finance ministers) was called last week. It’s become clear that the Greek government will not agree to an extension of the country’s bailout, and will effectively run out of cash in the near future if nothing is done.
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis wants the ministers to agree to a bridging loan for the country. That would tide Athens’ finances over for a few months, while the radical new government tries to negotiate a wider deal on Greece’s debt and austerity measures.
Since 2010, Greece’s governments have been bound by the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2010, which approved the country’s bailout. That’s kept the cash flowing, but it’s also guaranteed massive austerity measures, privatisations and other reforms. Many ordinary Greeks blame their grim economic situation on this deal.
Here are the lines we’ve had from the meeting already:
- According to Greece’s Kathimerini newspaper, Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem says the finance ministers are “extremely willing” to find a solution.
- But that may not be the consensus view. One European official told news agency MNI that “the Greeks are digging their own graves.”
- German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who is likely to be leading opposition to a new deal, says “it’s over” and Greece “can’t negotiate something new” according to Bloomberg.
- Greece has already watered down its demands in comparison to Syriza’s radical election platform. There’s a good breakdown of what they’re asking for over at Reuters.
- In a speech last night Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis declared a “post-bailout era” according to the Guardian.
Any major lines out today that suggest reluctance or willingness to embrace some sort of deal have the potential to massively move markets today.