At midnight, Greece turns into a pumpkin. The clock is clearly ticking but is this the 10th or 11th hour?
Given the eurozone propensity to extend deadline after deadline, it’s hard to say precisely what time this is. But we can say Greek Bailout Talks with Europe Break Down.
Eurozone finance ministers’ first attempt to grapple with the bailout demands made by the new Greek government broke down in recriminations after the two sides failed even to agree a way to take negotiations forward after six hours of talks in Brussels.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chairs the committee of his 18 colleagues, said that while he had hoped a blueprint for future talks could have been agreed at the session, no negotiations were scheduled ahead of a self-imposed deadline to reach agreement on a bailout extension by Monday.
Although no final deal on Greece’s proposals was in the offing at Wednesday’s meeting, senior eurozone officials had hoped that, following days of public sniping over what a new bailout programme might look like, Athens and its creditors could at least find a road map to resolving the standoff.
But officials said even those low expectations were not met and there are currently no talks expected before another meeting of finance ministers on Monday, where eurozone leaders had hoped a deal could be clinched.
According to eurozone officials involved in the talks, a joint statement had been agreed between the finance ministers and Yanis Varoufakis, their new Greek counterpart, that would have held out the chance of reaching a deal to extend Greece’s current €172bn programme beyond its February 28 expiration.
But after the meeting broke up, Mr Varoufakis consulted officials in Athens and then raised new objections to the statement’s wording, and despite efforts to find an 11th-hour compromise, the statement was scrapped. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed not to extend the current bailout.
Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?
In honor of the 10th, 11th, or whatever hour, I offer this musical tribute.
Link if video does not play: Does Anybody Really Knows What Time It Is?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock