Varoufakis says funding problem lies ahead

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis admitted on Wednesday that Greece may face difficulties in finding the money to pay its obligations to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank over the next few months.

Greece has to repay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF next month and 6.7 billion to the ECB in the summer and Varoufakis said in an interview with Alpha Radio that making these payments would be a problem.

“We are starting to negotiate this issue with our partners from today,” added the Greek finance minister.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Varoufakis suggested that the ECB could return profits of 1.9 billion euros it made from purchasing Greek bonds on the secondary market to help Athens pay its IMF loan next month.

“The ECB could simply hand over this money to the IMF as partial repayment,” he said. “The ECB recognizes that this is money we are owed. This is not borrowed money, it’s an overpayment to the ECB.”

In another interview with CNBC, Varoufakis assured markets that Greece would overcome its short-term funding challenges.

“They understand that when there is a cash flow problem, which is effectively a spike for a short space of time, but the long term seems quite good,” he said. “They can be confident that Europe is going to find a way of dealing with the cash flow problem. Can you imagine allowing the eurozone to fragment over a few billion euros?”