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Tension, frustration over Greek talks

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:26

Euro zone finance ministers express frustration at the lack of progress on Greek debt talks, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble encouraging participants to enjoy the beauty of Latvia, rather than holding out hope of a deal. Kirsty Basset reports.

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Another meeting to discuss Greece's debt - this time in Riga. No one's expecting a deal - there hasn't been enough technical work done in advance. And it seems many are getting tired of the lack of progress. Austrian Finance Minister Hans Schelling seemed exasperated with his Greek counterpart. (SOUNDBITE) (German) AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER, HANS JOERG SCHELLING, SAYING: "When Varoufakis says in an interview yesterday that we must finally sit together, I ask myself: what have we done for the past six months? We are constantly sitting together, we are holding special summits and there is no result." And German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble seemed positively underwhelmed. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING: "Presumably, everybody will say that it is important to make progress. But it already became clear weeks ago that the expectations for this meeting here were inadequate. So, nice to see you all here but don't be disappointed. Enjoy the beauty of the country." Behind closed doors, discussions have been tense, according to Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) PRESIDENT OF THE EUROGROUP AND DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM SAYING: "I'll be quite frank - there was a very critical discussion. We came to an agreement two months ago and today of course we had hoped to hear a positive result and an agreement on which we could then take a decision - and we are still far from that." German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said everything must be done to prevent Athens from running out of money. Greece is offering some concessions to access new funding - but it may not be enough. And time is running out. A deal is needed by the end of June, when the country's bailout package expires. JP Morgan's Kerry Craig says a Greek exit could happen by accident - and shouldn't be ruled out completely. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) KERRY CRAIG, GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST AT JP MORGAN SAYING: "No one really wants an event like a Grexit to happen because it's untested. And we're not sure exactly what would happen to the markets. There's been a lot of complacency - but little reaction to the events in Greece outside of the Greek markets. We haven't seen bond yields spike in any other country as developments have moved on. And I think there is a risk that markets are pricing in too low a probability of a Greek exit." Investors are already looking at the next meeting in Brussels on May 11. But several euro zone officials have told Reuters a deal then could also prove elusive.

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Tension, frustration over Greek talks

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:26