Irish finance minister sees Greek deal probable


Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan thinks it's probable that Greece can strike a third bailout deal with European partners this weekend. He credits Athens's switch of finance minister for improving the negotiating mood and repairing trust.

Speaking to Newstalk radio in Dublin, Noonan said this week's surprise replacement of Yanis Varoufakis with Euclid Tsakalotos has encouraged others at the table to believe that Athens wants a realistic deal, not endless brinkmanship.

For months, Noonan said he and his peers in the 19-country eurozone found Varoufakis evasive and difficult to pin down on specifics.

On the other hand, Noonan said he found Tsakalotos, at his first eurogroup meeting Tuesday, straightforward and "interesting," citing his background as a wealthy Marxist economist.

"It seems now they are serious," said Noonan, who now rates the chance of a deal with Greece at "better than 50 percent."