The Latest: Greece Denies Report of Temporary Grexit

Associated Press

The Greek government is denying a report that the German finance ministry has proposed a temporary, five-year euro exit for Greece.

Theodoros Mihopoulos who heads Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ office, said in a tweet that the report in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper “is completely denied.”

According to the report, the German finance ministry also proposed that the Greek government sells off some 50 billion euros ($56 billion) in unspecified property assets to pay off debts. The report said that in exchange, Greece would remain in the European Union and receive additional “growth enhancing, humanitarian and technical assistance”.

Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to assess the Greek government’s economic proposals that it hopes will pave the way to a third bailout of the country. Without a deal, Greece faces the prospect of an exit from the euro.


5:45 p.m.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos has been told what he needs to do to allay some of the concerns of his peers in the 19-country eurozone.

Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna spelled it out as clearly as any other as he arrived Saturday for discussions over Greece’s request for a third bailout and its reform proposals.

“It is important to find out the concrete steps and also how those proposals are going to translate into legislative initiatives,” Gramegna said. “If we have draft bills and if we have the prospect of a vote in the Greek parliament, there will be confidence.”

Gramegna, whose country holds the revolving European Union presidency, said he was ready to broach the issue of Greece’s debt sustainability and what can be done to ease it. However, he said “finalizing it is another issue.”


3:45 p.m

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, warned that that Saturday’s meeting of the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers over Greece’s bailout request was going to be tough.

Schaeuble, who has taken a hard line on Greece over recent months, says the Greek government will have to do a lot more than just say it wants to reform if it’s going to get the three-year bailout it requested for earlier this week.

“We will definitely not be able to rely on promises,” he said when arriving at the talks in Brussels.

Schaeuble put the blame for the current crisis firmly on the shoulders of the radical left Syriza government that was elected in January. The “hopeful” situation regarding Greece at the end of last year has been “destroyed by the last months,” he said.

Schaeuble said Saturday’s discussions would be “extraordinarily difficult.”


3:35 p.m.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said he would continue to play the mediating role at the meeting of the eurozone’s 19 finance ministers, in line with recent efforts by the country.

He conceded that the Greek government had a lot of persuading to do following a marked deterioration in relations with international creditors.

Sapin said the whole eurogroup needs to be convinced that the economic reform proposals the Greek government has made in order to get its hands on a three-year bailout will actually be enacted.

Sapin said Greece’s European partners want to hear the nitty-gritty: “How are you going to do it? At what moment are you doing to do it? At what tempo are you going to do it.”


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