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30Jan15


We will not co-operate with the troika, says Greek finance minister


Greek bond yields spiked on Friday after the country's finance minister said the new Left-wing government would not co-operate with international creditors.

Yanis Varoufakis, who held talks with Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem, also rejected the extension of Greece's 240bn (180bn) bail-out programme, which came with tough austerity measures.

"This platform enabled us to win the confidence of the Greek people," Mr Varoufakis said. "We are not going to co-operate with a rottenly constructed committee."

The comments frightened investors, with yields on the country's 10-year bonds jumping to 10.8pc. Shares on the Athens Stock Exchange fell 1.6pc.

Mr Varoufakis later backtracked on his comments, telling BBC's Newsnight: "Greece will deal with the Troika."

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza, became Greece's prime minister last Sunday, winning over voters weary of austerity with his promise not to bow to the Troika of European creditors - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Mr Dijsselbloem, who represents the eurozone's 19 finance ministers, yesterday rebuffed Greece's calls for an international conference to look at writing off part of its 320bn debt. "As for a conference on debt restructuring, you must realise that this conference already exists and it's called the Eurogroup," he said.

The impasse came as Barclays warned that the chances of a eurozone break-up were "significantly higher than at any point in 2012" - the height of the eurozone crisis.

[Source: By Andrew Trotman, The Telegraph, London, 30Jan15]

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