Arriving for what promises to be another tense Eurogroup summit in Brussels on Friday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the Greek government “has gone not the extra mile” but “the extra 10 miles” in honoring the demands of the country’s creditors.
“Hopefully at the end of this we’ll come out with some white smoke,” he said.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, for his part, noted that “solutions must be found to maintain trust in the euro.”
Meanwhile European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he regarded Greece “as a permanent member of the euro family.” “A Greek exit won’t happen,” he said.
Earlier German Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that “significant improvements” were needed to the substance of a proposal submitted by Greece for an extension to its loan agreement a few hours before a crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels.
In a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande following talks in Paris, Merkel acknowledged that “the Greek people have made major sacrifices,” referring to years of austerity measures demanded by international creditors, adding that the policy of Germany and other eurozone states was to strive to keep Greece in the euro.