Finance ministers of the Eurgroup have held a first meeting with their Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis in Brussels discussing plans prepared by the new Greek left-wing-led government to resolve the economic and financial crisis in the country. "It was the first opportunity to meet and to listen to the new Greek colleague on their plans, ambitions of their government. And that was very welcome and useful," Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a late-night news conference, following the meeting.
"We had intense discussion and constructive talks, covering a lot of ground, also making progress, but not enough progress at this point to come to joint conclusions. So, we will continue our talks on Monday," he said.
"On Monday, we have a regular Eurogroup meeting, with a number of items on the agenda, but we will also continue our talks on Greece and our current and future cooperation with Greece. That is where we stand. So, there are no real conclusions, which I can share with you," he added.
On his part, EU Commissioner for financial affairs Pierre Moscovici told the joint press conference that "it was useful for the Greek government to understand how the other member states and the institutions think of the situation." "It is very clear that there is a double will; to respect the result of the Greek elections but also to respect their commitments to the EU institutions and the member states. The other member states have also to show respect for their own citizens," he noted.
On his part, Varoufakis speaking to journalists separately said "this was my first eugrogroup meeting. It was fascinating. We had a very constructive discussions of all the facets of the Greek crisis and the way the eurogroup can facilitate so that we can overcome the crisis." "Our proposal is very simple, no unilateral moves, no aggressive move on our part. We are simply asking for some time to table our proposals to Europe and hopefully soon there will be a new contract," he said.
"Europe manages to find agreements even if it is at the last moment," said Varoufakis and described as "a catastrophe" the austerity programme imposed on Greece by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The three institutions offered Greece a bailout of 240 billion euro but under the condition of strict and unpopular austerity measures. Varoufakis also strongly denied that Russia will be giving financial assistance to Greece.