ECONOMY

There is no conflict with eurozone, insists Varoufakis

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis insisted on Monday morning that Athens is not heading for a showdown with its eurozone partners.

Speculation that the Greek government and its lenders will not be able to reach an agreement when they meet in Brussels at a Eurogroup meeting on Wednesday grew on Sunday after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stuck to his pre-election pledges when announcing the coalition’s policy programme.

However, Varoufakis insisted that the two sides could still reach an agreement.

“There is no conflict, there is discussion and consultation as always happens in the European family,” he told reporters as he arrived at the Finance Ministry.

“Don’t be so hasty,” Varoufakis told a journalist who asked him about whether the government should hold a referendum if Greece is not able to reach an agreement with the eurozone.

Varoufakis held talks on Sunday night with Euro Working Group chief Thomas Wieser and European Commission representative Declan Costello, who flew into Athens for talks with the government ahead of Wednesday’s Eurogroup.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and British Finance Minister George Osborne said in a joint Wall Street Journal op-ed published late on Sunday that it was important for Greece to implement a credible and comprehensive approach to reform, recovery and economic growth, in close consultation with its European and international partners.