Greek PM in 'positive' talks with Merkel despite 'Trojan horse' snub

19th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for nearly an hour Thursday in what a government source said was "a positive climate" aimed at calming the bailout crisis.

The conversation was "aimed at finding a mutually beneficial solution for Greece and the Eurozone," after Germany rejected a request from Athens for a six-month extension to its EU loan programme.

While negotiations officially continued ahead of a eurozone finance ministers' meeting Friday, behind the scenes Greece was fuming over Berlin's rejection of its request despite an initially positive response from the European Commission in Brussels.

A Greek government source provided details of the German position by releasing a document it said outlined Berlin's response during talks at a Eurogroup working group earlier Thursday.

The Greek proposal "is not clear at all... . It rather represents a Trojan horse, intending to get bridge financing and in substance putting an end to the current programme," the German reaction read, according to the source.

"On this basis it makes no sense to start drafting a Eurogroup statement on Friday," it read.

The proposal "falls short of a clear freeze of Greek measures," and "is totally unclear (on) how the Greek government wants to pay its bills over the coming weeks with the current shortfall in tax receipts," it read.

Germany said any deal would need Greece to vow "not to take any initiative or implement any measure or policy which is inconsistent with existing commitments under the current programme or aggravate the fiscal situation."

The Greek government source slammed the use of the term "Trojan horse", saying such language "in no way helps a real discussion" within the EU on how to resolve the bailout crisis.

Berlin has taken "an even tougher line" than at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, when negotiations on Athens' loans-for-reforms programme collapsed, it said.

"Someone malicious could characterise the attitude of the German Finance Ministry as the 'Trojan Horse' of those who want a mutually beneficial agreement for Europe," the source added.

© 2015 AFP

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