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Joan Burton: Syriza has been "lecturing the rest of Europe"

The Tánaiste added that Syriza was yet to “persuade us” they can run the Greek economy.

Irish budget Source: PA WIRE

Updated: 11.18 pm

TÁNAISTE JOAN BURTON has criticised Greece’s governing Syriza party for “lecturing the rest of Europe”, rather than proving they can run their own economy.

The strongly-worded remarks came at a Labour party policy forum on the economy in Galway this evening.

Burton said she and the party would “stand in solidarity with the Greek people”, and that Ireland would play a part in “putting Greece on the road to recovery.”

However, she issued a stinging criticism of Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, saying he had been “less than persuasive” in convincing Ireland that our support would be “money well spent.”

When Yanis Varoufakis asks the Irish people for solidarity, he also needs to persuade us that any support we give will be money well spent.
We also need to be persuaded that the Greek Government will keep its promises…And so far the case made by Mr. Varoufakis is less than persuasive.

Europe Greece Bailout Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis Source: Virginia Mayo/PA

The Tánaiste added:

There have been times this year when it seemed that Syriza was more interested in lecturing the rest of Europe rather than persuading us that they can run the Greek economy.

Earlier, there was no breaking of the deadlock in emergency talks to reach a bailout deal, between Greece and its creditors.

There are fresh fears this evening that Athens is on the verge of defaulting and exiting the eurozone altogether as EU leaders gather in Brussels.

Earlier, the finance ministers of the 19 eurozone countries broke off talks which had been supposed to pave the way for EU leaders to sign an accord.

Greece needs creditors to unlock the remaining funds in its bailout to pay a €1.6 billion debt payment to the IMF, but the lenders have refused until Greece agrees to new spending cuts and reforms.

Marathon meetings between prime minister Alexis Tsipras and the heads of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, Greece’s main creditors, also ended with no deal.

German chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters:

We have not made the necessary progress. In some areas one even gets the impression that we have moved backwards.

Also speaking to reporters in Brussels earlier, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said there had been “a complication here about putting credible papers on the table”.

enda greece

He predicted that the marathon talks will not conclude this evening and will probably run into the weekend.

New plans submitted last Sunday by Greece were aimed at making €8 billion in savings, mostly through new taxes on the wealthy and businesses, VAT increases and a cut in defence spending.

But in counter-proposals handed to Greece yesterday, creditors are calling for further measures on retirement, value added tax for restaurants, and for defence expenditure to be slashed by €400 million instead of the proposed €200 million.

Articulating the view of other EU leaders, Kenny said:

It is difficult to see the beneficial effect of measures that increase the tax on labour that increases income tax and increases PRSI. These are not in the interest of growth. That is what the discussions are about.

When asked if his government would support debt relief for Greece Kenny said: “No.”

Contains reporting by AFP. Additional reporting by Dan Mac Guill

Originally published: 5.53 pm

Read: Is Greece about to kiss the euro goodbye?

Read: Greece doesn’t want a piece of the troika’s latest offer

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Hugh O'Connell

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