Tusk Rebuffs Greek Attempt to Circumvent Lenders

The European Council president turns down a Greek request to take the discussion to national leaders.

European Council president Donald Tusk attends a conference in London, England, February 4
European Council president Donald Tusk attends a conference in London, England, February 4 (European Council)

European Council president Donald Tusk has refused to call an emergency summit of government leaders to discuss Greece’s latest altercation with its creditors, maintaining that this must be resolved at the level of the finance ministers instead.

A day earlier, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who chairs eurozone meetings, canceled just such a conference because he said there was no progress to discuss.

Greece has balked at implementing €3 billion in cuts to comply with the terms of its financial rescue package.

Alexis Tsipras, the Balkan nation’s far-left prime minister, sought to elevate discussion to the leadership level to circumvent Dijsselbloem as well as monitors from the International Monetary Fund who insist that Greece honor its agreements.

The IMF jointly administers Greece’s €86 billion bailout — its third since 2010 — with the European Union.

How to cut

Due to lagging tax receipts, Greece is running out of cash to pay salaries and pensions in May.

The creditors want Greece to follow through on its commitment to legislate additional budget cuts in case the program veers off course. That would mean €3 billion more cuts.

The Greeks argue that further austerity is politically infeasible and have asked their lenders to accept across-the-board adjustments instead.

The EU and IMF worry that indiscriminate cuts would needlessly damage growth.

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