Updated at 9.20pm
THE GREEK FINANCE minister has hit out at some eurozone nations who he claims do not want his country in the single currency any longer as the brinkmanship over a second bailout for Greece continues.
Doubts remain over whether the austerity measures approved by Greek MPs last Sunday will do enough to convince eurozone finance ministers to approve the release of funds as part of a second EU-IMF bailout.
The government in Athens has agreed a further €325 million in spending cuts as part of its effort to push for that second bailout deal, and this evening eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he was confident that progress had been made on the negotiations for the second bailout.
Juncker said he believes eurozone finance ministers will be able to make a decision on Monday about releasing the bailout funds.
The state faces defaulting on a loan repayment of €14.5 million on 20 March unless it receives the funding, which is expected to total €130 billion.
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said there were several countries who no longer wanted the heavily indebted nation in the eurozone.
“We have to tell the Greek people the truth,” Venizelos said. “There are many in the eurozone who don’t want us any more,” he is quoted by BBC News as saying.
It comes as eurozone finance ministers hold a teleconference on the issue this evening having earlier postponed a planned face-to-face meeting in Brussels until next Monday.
Several ministers do not believe Greece has offered enough assurances that austerity measures will continue to be enforced beyond elections in April when a change of government is likely.
However, the FT carries a letter to the Troika from the conservative Greek politician widely expected to win the next election. Antonis Samaras, from the New Democracy party, writes: ”We will remain committed to the programme’s objectives, targets and key policies.”
During the teleconference officials will draw up “an inventory of what Greece has delivered, and checking if it is enough,” AFP quoted one Greek official as saying.
- Additional reporting by the AP