The head of the Eurogroup said on Tuesday that a recent reshuffle of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ negotiating team would not by itself resolve the impasse between Greece and its lenders, and Athens would need new loans to stay afloat.
“Without further loans, Greece won’t make it, that’s the reality,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem was quoted by Reuters as saying in a television interview with RTL Nieuws. He said the reality is that there’s very little money and that without help, Greece will not be able to exit the crisis.
Dijsselbloem said that it is good news that the Greeks have appointed a single contact person for negotiations, although it doesn’t resolve by itself the problems between Greece and the Eurogroup.
“It’s not just about Finances, it’s also about Energy, Justice, Foreign Affairs…It’s so large [the field] that we need a direct contact, under the responsibility of the prime minister [Alexis Tsipras],” he added.
Dijsselbloem also noted that little progress has been made in negotiations over the past two months, and sometimes there were even some backward steps. He signaled he did not think a Greek referendum on a deal with creditors would be a good idea. “It would cost money, it would create great political uncertainty, and I don’t think we have the time,” Dijsselbloem said. “And I don’t think the Greeks have the time for it.”
Commenting on the stance of the ECB towards Greece, the EU official said it should not have come as a surprise to Greece’s government that the Bank has not relaxed limits on how much Greek government debt its banks may use as collateral.
“The Greek government gambled that if it negotiated with us the ECB would open its cashier windows, relax its rules,” Dijsselbloem said.
But “there will be no easy access to the ECB’s windows until there’s a solid agreement with the Eurogroup,” he told RTL Nieuws. “That’s been made clear to them time and time again.”