EU Commission President 'Eyes End of Greece Troika Mission'

Southeast Europe | February 2, 2015, Monday // 08:43|  views

Greek newly appointed Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis listens to his French counterpart Michel Sapin (not pictured) during a press conference after a meeting at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance of Becy in Paris, France, February 01, 2015.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker mulls suspending the mission of the so-called "Troika" of international lenders in Greece, media reports suggest.

German government sources quoted by daily Handelsblatt suggest Berlin is also ready "in principle" to consider the move, which could lead to the renegotiation of the country's bailout terms as demanded by the new Greek cabinet of PM Alexis Tsipras.

However, Germany is ready to accept the move only if Greece sticks to the general course of reform, according to Handelsblatt.

Juncker is set to meet with Tsipras on Wednesday, when the new Greek Prime Minister will be on a visit to Brussels.

Tsipras's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met his French counterpart on Sunday, reiterating his government insisted on paying off part of Greece's massive debt which is still at about 175% the size of its economy.

European leaders (including Juncker, according to some media outlets) made clear last week they are not inclined to accept a move to write off half of the obligations as Tsipras had promised during the election campaign in January.

But French Finance Minister Michel Sapin told Varoufakis a debt haircut was out of the question.

The "Troika" includes the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), the three entities which struck agreements with Athens to provide assistance worth EUR 240 M in return of tough reform in the country which should help it rein in its debt and reduce spending.

It has often come under fire for imposing austerity measures which many experts say have crippled the country's economy in the years of financial crisis.

Greece's GDP has contracted by a quarter in over six years. Tsipras rose to popularity due to his pledges to reject austerity measures and to renegotiate the terms of international bailout.

During last week's talks with Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem in Athens, Varoufakis, the latter announced Athens would not continue to work together with the "Troika" representatives as the previous government did.

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Tags: Jean-Claude Juncker, Alexis Tsipras, Germany, greece, troika, Yanis Varoufakis, IMF, ECB, European Union, debt, austerity


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