Greece’s Varoufakis says it’s time to reach a debt deal

Yanis VaroufakisGreece’s finance minister said on Monday it was time the finger-pointing in debt talks with its EU-IMF creditors stopped and that both sides “come to an agreement”.

After a weekend spat between Athens and the EU over planned reforms, Yanis Varoufakis told reporters on a visit to Berlin: “It is time to stop pointing fingers at one another and it is time that we do our job to bring to fruition months of efforts to come to an agreement.”

He was quoted in the Greek press Sunday as calling Brussels’ latest demands for economic reforms by Athens “borderline insulting”, while EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker accused Greece’s premier of misrepresenting the proposals.

Varoufakis, who was appointed finance minister under Greece’s radical left Syriza-led government, was speaking after a meeting with the head of Germany’s far-left Linke party, Gregor Gysi.

The Greek minister had earlier held 90-minute long talks with his veteran and influential German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, an advocate of tight fiscal discipline, with whom Varoufakis has crossed swords in the past.

The discussions were “open and constructive” and took place “in a friendly atmosphere”, a finance ministry spokesman said, adding however there was an agreement to keep their content under-wraps.

Varoufakis said he had also met members of Germany’s Greens party and the Social Democrats while in Berlin.

He is later scheduled to deliver a speech during a discussion on Greece’s future in the EU organised by the Hans-Boeckler Foundation, which is close to the DGB union confederation.

“At historic moments when the eyes of Europeans are upon us and they are expecting from us, the politicians, to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion for the benefit of every European, it is essential that we do not think in terms of party politics, that we talk to each other as Europeans,” Varoufakis told reporters.

Greece faces a deadline to reach a deal by the end of June before its current EU-IMF bailout expires, leaving the cash-strapped country with no means of support against a looming default.

The five-month talks are stuck on disagreement between Greece and its creditors on its future budget goals, economic reforms and tax revenue.

Varoufakis again hit out at the creditors’ latest proposals — rejected by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras as “absurd” — in Germany’s Tagesspiegel daily.

“One only makes such a proposal when one doesn’t actually want any agreement,” the newspaper quoted him as saying in excerpts released ahead of Tuesday’s edition.

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