Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a phone conversation on Sunday (26 April) to maintain contact during talks between Athens and its lenders to reach a debt deal, a Greek government official said.
“During their communication, they expressed their common will for a steady communication throughout the course of negotiations in order to have a mutually beneficial solution soon,” said the official, who declined to be named.
Greece has been trying to negotiate a deal that would unlock 7.2 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in remaining EU-International Monetary Fund bailout money that the debt-ridden Mediterranean country needs to avoid default and a possible exit from the euro.
But during a regular meeting at the Latvian capital of Riga on Friday, eurozone finance ministers warned its government that it would get no fresh aid until it agreed to a complete economic reform plan.
The official said that the technical teams from Greece and its creditors – the so-called Brussels Group – would hold a teleconference on Monday and convene on Wednesday to speed up negotiations.
Talks ‘going nowhere’
Three months of fruitless negotiations have raised tensions between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and euro zone colleagues in Riga on Friday (24 April).
Eurozone ministers – the so-called Eurogroup – bemoaned talks they felt “were going nowhere”, and one minister said that maybe it was time governments prepared a plan B, for a Greek default.
European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici on Sunday told French radio station RTL: “We will do everything we need to do in order to reach an agreement.”
He added: “Greece’s place is in the eurozone.”
Varoufakis: ‘They are unanimous in their hate for me’
Responding to reports that he was isolated in debt talks, Varoufakis tweeted a quotation by American statesman Franklin Roosevelt on Sunday which read “They are unanimous in their hate for me; and I welcome their hatred.”
Varoufakis said the quote expressed his feelings in recent days.
Varoufakis, who maintained his critical tone in comments published Sunday, told Greek newspaper Realnews: “Our job is to convince our partners that we are working for profound reforms and a reasonable public finance policy.”
“Their job is to give up their sterile attachment to the ‘logic’ of memorandums (austerity) that has failed,” he added.
A survey published Sunday showed that seven out of 10 Greeks want their radical left-wing leaders to reach an agreement with their creditors.