The EU issued Monday a stern warning to Greece that its place in the eurozone is at risk if new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras fails to meet the country’s austerity and debt commitments.
From Brussels to Berlin officials said they were ready to talk to the new government led by Tsipras’s radical left party SYRIZA, but insisted that Athens must stick to prior agreements with its international creditors.
Eurozone finance ministers were meeting in Brussels a day after SYRIZA stormed to victory in elections on the back of Tsipras’ promises to end “disastrous austerity” and seek a cancellation of Greek debt.
“Membership of the eurozone means that you comply with everything you have agreed with,” said Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem, adding that “on that basis, were ready to work with them.”
The Dutch finance minister did not rule out steps to help Greece — such as extending debt repayment deadlines or reducing interest rates — so long as the new government stuck to the austerity measures it has agreed with the EU and IMF since 2010.
But he dismissed suggestions that the EU could erase some of the debts that Greece incurred under the massive 240-billion-euro ($269 billion) international bailouts it received, as Tsipras has demanded.
“Writing off debt in nominal value, I don’t think theres a lot of support for that within the eurozone,” Dijsselbloem said.