Euro Area Regrets Greek Delay After Accord, Reirs Says

Greece’s delay in implementing a February Eurogroup agreement is frustrating finance ministers whose support is needed to unlock money for the cash-strapped nation, Latvian Finance Minister Janis Reirs said.

“All the ministers expressed regret about this situation,” said Reirs Wednesday in an interview in the nation’s capital. “They signed this agreement three weeks ago and nothing happened for two weeks.”

The Greek government is seeking political support at a European Union summit starting Thursday to unlock funds from the country’s 240 billion-euro ($254 billion) bailout package, following a four-month loan extension granted last month by euro-area finance ministers.

Concern is growing among officials that the resistance of the Greek government may end up forcing the country out of the euro as the country refuses to take the action needed to trigger more financial support.

Greece needs to “fulfill its promises. It’s necessary to work further on structural reforms but we don’t see those steps,” Reirs said. “The Eurogroup ministers have done everything in order to give Greece a helping hand. How this situation develops is completely dependent on and the responsibility of Greece.”

While technical discussions have begun with Greece over how to implement the February agreement, progress so far has been minimal, according to the people involved in the talks. Latvia will not support a debt write-off for Greece, said Reirs.

“I don’t see how I can, as a representative of Latvia in the Eurogroup, accept the beginning of a new program if the bill hasn’t been settled for the old program,” he said.

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