Greece proposes a reform plan

Greece proposed Wednesday to the European Union a reform plan and financing of four years and knocked on the door of the European Central Bank, in a desperate attempt to enlist their help and euro zone to avoid bankruptcy of the country.

The new Greek leaders continued their European tour in Frankfurt, Brussels and Paris on Wednesday. After a meeting in Brussels with the presidents of the three institutions of the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras traveled to Paris to meet with François Hollande.

Greece “is not a threat to Europe,” Tsipras said in Paris following a meeting with French President, who called it “guarantor” of growth in the EU. “We need an agreement today for Europe, an agreement for the return to growth, strengthening employment and social cohesion” urged Tsipras.

In parallel, after Rome, the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, traveled to Frankfurt, headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB), to meet with the president of the organization, Mario Draghi, before a crucial meeting on Thursday the head of the Ministry of Finance of Germany, Wolfgang Schauble. In Brussels, Tispras proposed to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU develop a reform plan and financing to four years (2015-2018), according to a government source in Athens. This plan includes a “radical” program in the fight against corruption and tax fraud, accompanied by a “financial balance” of Greece, which would abandon the requirement for getting a “monstrous” primary surplus of 4.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The same source in Athens said Tsipras evoked the possibility of a “transitional arrangement” to give Greece financial margin to prepare, “in agreement” with the EU, this plan. The Commission has not made any comments. In Brussels, the European tour and meetings that occur with Greek leaders begin to cause boredom. “If it is divided, not good,” confided a European source.

Negotiations “will be difficult, they will need cooperation and the major effort of Greece,” said the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk.

Broken Country

In Frankfurt, after more than an hour at the headquarters of the monetary institution, Varoufakis said he was “optimistic about the future” after holding a “fruitful” discussions with the ECB president. In an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit, Varoufakis, who admits to being “Finance Minister of a State in bankruptcy,” said that “the ECB has to support our banks so we can keep your head above water.” The institution is vital to prevent Greece break. The country’s banks are the main customers of Greek debt. And is essentially the ECB through two mechanisms loans, which injects liquidity. The Board of Governors of the institution may choose not to renew one of the loans.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said there was no “discussion” with Athens on a renegotiation of its debt. In an interview published Wednesday, Varoufakis said it had “begun negotiations” with the IMF to replace its existing debt securities newest titles “market rates” and whose maturity would be linked to a return to a “solid” growth at home. Athens, Wednesday who placed more than 800 million euros in debt in the short term although higher rates and less interest investors-, calls a “bridge financing” until June 1, when it expects to have reached an agreement with the EU.
Varoufakis promised to present concrete proposals at the meeting of finance ministers from the euro zone, which is expected to take place on 11 February in Brussels on the eve of the summit of heads of state and government community.

Greece, Russia and NATO

On the other hand, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, said Wednesday that the new Greek government remains committed to its role in NATO despite the ties that bind the country with Russia concern to the Allies. “I assured them that relations will continue as before,” Kammenos said in an interview with AFP after meeting with Secretary General of NATO, Jean Stoltenberg and his deputy at the headquarters of the organization. “We will continue our cooperation politically and militarily,” he added.

The victory in the elections of January 25 the radical left Syriza party, led by current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, disturbed in some Western capitals, they perceive the new Greek government as close to Moscow. In the past, Syriza defended the exit of Greece from NATO. Last week, concerns resurfaced when the government of Tsipras protested a statement from the European Union in which the block Moscow threatened new sanctions.

“We saw these reports in recent days, but Greece will remain a member of the EU and NATO,” Kammenos said, adding that Athens will also maintain its relations with Russia. “Of course, Greece has political relations with Russia. These relationships are not a secret,” he said. “Most of the Greek agricultural production was exported to Russia,” he added. “I also have (Russian) military equipment, we talked with the secretary general. We will continue ordering spare parts to keep that equipment,” he said.