Eurozone official in Greece talks

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Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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A top eurozone financial official is in Athens for talks with Greece’s new left wing government after it promised to renege on key commitments required in exchange for a 240 billion euro (£179bn) rescue package.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who chairs eurozone finance meetings, met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and was due to have a lengthier meeting with the finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis.

Mr Tsipras’ Syriza party, which won general elections last weekend, says it will not move ahead with several planned privatization projects or aim for budget surpluses required to pay down Greece’s massive national debt.

Syriza has promised to break off talks with bailout negotiators from the troika – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – and seek talks directly with eurozone governments to try and cancel more than half the bailout debt.

The loans are from eurozone countries and the IMF.

European officials have already said they expect Greece to repay the money in full.

But credit ratings agency Fitch said that, in the short term, both sides have a “strong incentive” to reach an agreement to make sure Greece gets the rescue money from the bailout programmes.

It warned, however, that drawn-out negotiations pose a “high risk” to the country’s fragile economy.

“The content of any settlement is hard to predict,” it said. “There is a high risk that protracted and difficult negotiations will sap confidence and liquidity from the Greek economy.”

Published: Friday 30th January 2015 by The News Editor

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