Finance Ministry says Dijsselbloem visit will kick off debt talks

This week’s visit to Athens by the head of the eurozone finance ministers’ group will mark the start of Greece’s negotiations on changing the conditions of its international bailout accord, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Disselbloem is due to meet new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Friday, kicking off a round of meetings with European partners.

“Negotiations with our partners begin with this visit, which will lead to a viable, comprehensive agreement to reconstruct our social economy,” the finance ministry said.

Varoufakis is due to travel to London on Sunday to meet his British counterpart George Osborne as well as investors and then goes to Paris on Monday to meet French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. He meets Italian Economy Minister Pier Carlo Padoan in Rome on Tuesday.

Varoufakis has said he is seeking to win support for a renegotiation of Greek debt and a “bridge” deal to replace the current bailout program.

On Thursday, it emerged that Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary-General, had accepted an invitation extended by the Greek premier to visit Athens on February 11, to discuss the new administration’s proposals regarding a series of radical reforms in Greece.

[Reuters, Kathimerini]