– Washington Unable To Mind Own Business: Urges Greece, EU “Tone Down Rhetoric” (ZeroHedge, Feb 19, 2015):
In its role as global hall monitor, Washington appears to have jabbed its nose into the Greece-EU talks:
- *LEW SPOKE WITH SAPIN, DIJSSELBLOEM, VAROUFAKIS TODAY: OFFICIAL
- *U.S. URGES SIDES IN GREEK TALKS TO TONE DOWN RHETORIC: OFFICIAL
Treasury Secretary Lew “urges compromise” and explains he is in touch with Eurogroup, IMF, and Greece putting the onus back on Varoufakis’ shoulders by urging them to reach a deal of face additional hardhsip.
As Bloomberg reports,
The U.S. is stepping up efforts to encourage Greece and its European creditors to reach an agreement that would prevent the euro area’s economy from weakening further, according to a U.S. Treasury official.
Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew talked today with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs meetings of the 19 euro-area finance ministers, the official told reporters during a briefing in Washington on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. wants to see both sides tone down the rhetoric and reach a pragmatic compromise, the official said. The talks are at an impasse as Greece and other euro-area countries debate terms to extend a bailout from the European Central Bank and European Commission that expires at the end of February. Greece also has a loan program with the International Monetary Fund that ends in March 2016.
The stalemate has renewed concern that Greece may abandon the euro, setting off shock waves throughout the currency zone and beyond. The Treasury official said Lew has also spoken to his German counterparts and officials at the European Commission and the IMF.
Germany left the door open to an agreement on Greece’s bailout funding as officials prepare their negotiating positions going into a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels Friday.
The latest round of calls follows a conversation on Wednesday between Lew and Varoufakis. Lew urged Greece to reach a deal with its international creditors or face additional hardship and encouraged Greece to find a constructive path forward in its partnership with Europe, according to a Treasury Department readout of a call between the two officials.
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Which is odd because the funny looking man (we think it was a man) on TV just told us that this was a storm in an Ouzo glass? Funny that the US Treasury Secretary would get involved if that was the case.