U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew Threatens Greece: Capitulate or Else
In a display of thuggery, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew called Greek Finance Minister Janis Varoufakis today to demand that the Greek government capitulate to the Eurozone's demands, or suffer "immediate hardship."
In barely-disguised diplomatic language, Lew told Varoufakis to find a "constructive path forward in partnership with Europe and the International Monetary Fund, to build on the foundation that exists to advance growth and reform," a Treasury spokesman reported today. Act now, he said: "time is of the essence," as a "deadlock" is not good for Europe.
Greece was to have submitted its proposal requesting an extension of its loan agreement—not bailout program—to the Eurozone ministers today, but this has been postponed until tomorrow, Feb. 19. The Guardian quoted government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis warning that Athens will not cave in to demands that it extend the bailout agreement:
"We believe the terms of the bailout cannot continue by any means."
Germany insists otherwise.
The European Commission's Vice President, Valdis Dombrovskis, demanded today that Athens stick to the terms of the original bailout agreement, warning Athens not to make "unilateral" moves to reverse its austerity program while negotiations are ongoing.
Meanwhile, in remarks to the Parapolitica radio program, Greek Minister of State Alekos Flamborasis reported that Greece may ask for an emergency EU summit, adding that if this didn't occur by the end of the week, Greece would request it, "as the issue is political." He underscored:
"Athens is not requesting an extension of the Memorandum as the vote of the Greek people has abolished the Memorandum. Our country is calling for an extension of the loan agreement... so that we can resolve a few things that are outstanding."