Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 18:25
Dijsselbloem secures concessions from Greece for bailout extension
Eurogroup Chairman and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijssenbloem has scheduled an emergency meeting of Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels this Friday to decide Greece's application for an extension of their bailout package. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis formally made the application in a letter to Dijssenbloem on Wednesday, and moved drastically closer to the strict position of the other EU ministers. In the letter, the Greek government promised to adhere to the existing debt program detailing a formal request for a six-month emergency extension of funding from the Eurogroup's Master Financial Assistance Facility Agreement, which was scheduled to terminate next Friday. The letter asked to retrieve a further seven billion euros from the bailout fund. It does not commit Greece to further future spending cuts. Instead Varoufakis wrote "the new government is committed to a broader and deeper reform process aimed at durably improving growth and employment prospects, achieving debt sustainability and financial stability". The application was firmly and abruptly rejected by Germany, who said that Greece had failed to meet the conditions expected by the Eurozone, with German Finance Ministry spokesperson Martin Jaeger calling it "not a proposal that leads to a substantial solution." "The letter does not meet the criteria agreed by the Eurogroup on Monday," he said, referring to a meeting in Brussels which failed to resolve the crisis. However, the European Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas described the proposal as a positive step towards a "reasonable compromise." Friday's meeting will mark the Eurogroup's third attempt in ten days to resolve the deadlock which arose after Greece elected a new leftist government.