According to leaks coming from various eurozone finance ministers, who are now breaking for dinner, Reuters is reporting that Greece is being asked for more concessions.
Reuters says that Euro zone finance ministers told Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos that Athens must offer deeper reforms to persuade them to open talks on a third bailout.
There is clearly a trust issue as many European representatives don’t believe that Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza government is capable of carrying out the reforms he has promised.
Two sources told Reuters that there was consensus among the other 18 ministers around the table that the leftist government in Athens must take further steps to convince them it would honor any new debts.
Many also doubt Tsipras will be able to deliver, given the split in his own Syriza party with prominent cabinet members and MPs either abstaining or voting against the proposal in yesterday’s session in Greek parliament.
Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, said before the talks: “We have to make a lot more progress.”
The deputy finance minister for the Netherlands, Eric Wiebes, said many governments had concerns about Greece’s ability to implement its proposed reforms. “After all, we are discussing a proposal from the Greek government that was seriously rejected one week ago.”
Pierre Moscovici, the European commissioner for economic affairs, said Greece had made an important gesture with its latest proposals, but many ministers would be looking for more on implementation.
Malta’s finance minister, Edward Scicluna, said Saturday’s meeting had to resolve “a contradiction in terms” between a Greek government promising reforms and elected on a mandate to fight austerity.
“We have to be reassured that it’s not a question of words but a program that can be implemented,” he said. “There are some who are very skeptical and those who are less skeptical.”