Germany's finance minister joked about the US trading Puerto Rico for Greece

Wolfgang SchaeubleREUTERS/Leonhard FoegerGermany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Greece is scrambling to get a new bailout package with its European creditors.

These negotiations are playing out both behind closed doors and in public.

And on Thursday at an event in Frankfurt, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble didn’t exactly strike a particularly sincere tone when talking about Greece and the other major debt crisis going on right now, Puerto Rico.

According to Bloomberg, Schaeuble said, “I offered my friend [US Treasury Secretary] Jack Lew these days that we could take Puerto Rico into the euro zone if the U.S. were willing to take Greece into the dollar union. He thought that was a joke.”

This might be the kind of thing that people say behind closed doors, or that people say when negotiations are going well. (Or when writing a primer on the topics.)

Now, people who are following this situation closely won’t be totally shocked to see these comments from Schaeuble, as he’s seen as a hard-liner in the negotiations, demanding deep reforms from Greece and insisting it get no debt relief.

But given the tense state of negotiations, and the deteriorating situation in Greece, this is not the kind of rhetoric that is going to help either side reach a deal.

Greek banks are still closed, and will remain so through Monday. Confidence in the Greek banking system, even from those who aren’t yet financially stretched, has also completely collapsed.

Greece has until tonight to submit a new plan, and the European Union meeting on Sunday has been marketed as the absolute last day for Greece to either reach a deal with Europe, or start making other plans.

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