Greece to face cash crunch in ‘couple of weeks,’ says FinMin

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis warned Monday that his debt-wracked country would face a cash crunch within two weeks, and was in an urgent need of the last tranche of rescue funds from its 240-billion-euro bailout.

“The liquidity issue is a terribly urgent issue. It’s common knowledge, let’s not beat around the bush,” Varoufakis said after a meeting with his eurozone counterparts in Brussels.

“From the perspective (of timing), we are talking about the next couple of weeks,” he added.

Varoufakis welcomed that the Eurogroup — the finance ministers from the 19 countries that use the euro — issued a positive statement about the talks even though it did not unlock even part of the bailout’s final 7.2-billion-euro payment.

“What was of the essence was to establish in public the great strides that have been made… and before the liquidity constraints become binding,” Varoufakis said.

Short of payout, Greece hopes that the symbolic gesture won Monday will help persuade the European Central Bank to keep emergency funds flowing to Greece’s fragile banks.

But Varoufakis said that decision was up to the ECB.

“The ECB receives no order, from us or the Eurogroup and alone decides when and what it decides it should do,” he said.

The minister refused to take further a suggestion by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble that Greece hold a referendum on getting support for further reforms.

“A referendum is always available in order to elicit the support of the Greek people,” he said.

“It is a tool available to the Greek government, (but) at the moment it is not on the radar screen.”


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