Euro zone warns Greece no cash till full reform deal

Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:39pm EDT
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By Robin Emmott and Ingrid Melander

RIGA (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers warned Greece on Friday that its leftist government will get no more aid until it agrees a complete economic reform plan, as Athens lurches closer to bankruptcy.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis faced a harsh morning in which euro zone ministers bemoaned talks they felt "were going nowhere" and one minister said that maybe it was time governments prepared for the plan B of a Greek default.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chaired the meeting in the Latvian capital, slammed the door on Varoufakis' proposal for early cash after partial reforms.

"A comprehensive and detailed list of reforms is needed," Dijsselbloem told a news conference following a meeting in Riga. "A comprehensive deal is necessary before any disbursement can take place ... We are all aware that time is running out."

He also said a remaining 7.2 billion euros in frozen bailout funds would no longer be available after June, and Greece's creditors would not talk about longer term funding and debt relief until Athens concluded a full interim agreement.

In a sign of the euro zone's frustration, the discussion on Greece lasted little more than an hour, while ministers declined to go into any detail over issues such as the budget surpluses Athens might target because Greece had no details prepared.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels on Thursday he hoped for an agreement by the end of this month and Merkel on Friday reiterated her call for a deal soon.

But Dijsselbloem said finance ministers would review progress again only on May 11 - a day before Greece has to make a crucial and uncertain 750 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund.   Continued...

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis delivers a speech during a banking conference in Athens April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis