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The new Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis announced today that the government would not be dealing any more with appointed delegates of the “troika” (the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission) who are seen as responsible for the oppressive austerity measures that the country has suffered in the last 5 years. Instead Greece intends to pursue bilateral negotiations with each of the debtor-parties separately.
It was also announced that the country would not be taking an extension to the €240bn bailout that the troika agreed with the previous government. Greece aims to negotiate big reductions in her €240 billion debt.
The clearly unhappy Dutch Finance Minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem who heads the Eurogroup of EU finance ministers said, “I realise the Greek people have gone through a lot. However, a lot of progress has been made and it is important not to lose that progress. We both want Greece to regain its economic independence as soon as possible. It is of utmost importance that Greece remains on the path of economic recovery. Taking unilateral steps or ignoring previous agreements is not the way forward.”
Varoufakis said, “Our first action as a government will not be to reject the rationale of questioning this programme through a request to extend it. We respect institutions but we don’t plan to cooperate with that committee.”
The move comes in the wake of Sunday’s elections that saw an anti-austerity government formed in Athens that immediately stopped moves towards further privatisation demanded by the troika.