The Greek finance minister is in London for talks with his British counterpart, as he seeks to build support for a new deal to end austerity. CCTV’s Richard Bestic reported this story from London.
Greece\'s new government seeks $282B bailout from EurozoneThe Greek finance minister is in London for talks with his British counterpart, as he seeks to build support for a new deal to end austerity. CCTV’s Richard Bestic reported this story from London.
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, welcomed Yanis Varoufakis to London with a grip and a grin for the cameras. It’s Varoufakis’ latest stop on a pan-European charm offensive, as the new Greek government struggles to renegotiate a 249 billion euro ($282 billion) bailout.
“I welcome this opportunity, so soon after the Greek election, to discuss face-to-face with Yanis Varoufakis the stability of the European economy and how to boost its growth,” Osborne said in an earlier statement.
Unlike most Eurozone governments, Britain isn’t directly exposed to Greek debt, but, “The City”, London’s financial center is.
British banks are estimated to have lent around $12 billion euros ($13.6 billion) to Greek banks and businesses.
Britain is also a member of the International Monetary Fund, another lender.
After a stopover Sunday night in Paris with French Finance Minister, Michel Sapin, Varoufakis said he wanted a new deal on Greek debt within months, to end what he called his country’s addiction to loans and liabilities.
“My concern as a European first, is that this present bailout program is costing the rest of Europe — not just us — too much. We’re interested in minimizing the losses to our partners. And the best way of doing that is by assisting Greece to turn a page, to reform and to start growing so we actually can afford to pay back everything with interest,” Varoufakis said.
The appeal of the new Greek government is certainly being given a hearing on the streets of Spain.
Tens of thousands of people marched in Madrid Saturday in the biggest show of support yet for the anti-austerity party Podemos.
Crowds chanted “yes we can” in an echo of the words that brought U.S. President Barack Obama to power.
Obama said in a CNN interview that imposing tough austerity programs on Greece could backfire.
But he’s not expected to win over German chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Friday discussed Europe’s future with the French and European parliament presidents.
Greece owes Germany the most, an estimated 56.5 billion euros ($64 billion) and Merkel has said that she doesn’t envision fresh debt cancellation.
In Britain, a similar hard line is can be expected, despite overtures from Varoufakis.