Greece's finance minister has ramped up the political stakes in his country's debt drama, by personally telling President Barack Obama to push eurozone creditors over his country's bail-out crisis. In an 12-minute exchange with the President on the sidelines of an event marking Greek Independence day, Mr Varoufakis is reported to have repeated his desire for the US leader to influence events. Mr Obama is reported to have responded by urging flexibility from both parties.
Greece's Leftist government has looked to the White House to play the role of honest broker in protracted negotiations with its international creditors. Following Syriza's election in January, the President called for an end to harmful austerity policies and the introduction of a "growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts to eliminate some of their deficits.” ... Hopes of a deal before a meeting of the eurozone's finance ministers on April 24 have rapidly faded as both sides show no signs of bridging their differences over Greece's cash-for-reforms bail-out extension. "In the absence of a deal in the next few weeks, the government might not be able to avoid default, which – we fear – would likely raise the risk of Grexit," said Reinhard Cluse at UBS. The situation has become increasingly critical as Greece's public funds dwindle and the government faces a near €1bn IMF bill in the first two weeks of May. IMF managing director Christine Lagarde repeated that she would not countenance any delay in payment to the Fund. “We will do everything we can so lending to the Fund remains the safest lending route any debtor can adopt. That is my determination” said Ms Lagarde. ... Unfortunately for the Greeks, this is not Obama's call to make here. The Euro Zone is left to its own faltering accord. Quite sometime ago, Greece was thrown out of the Markets, and there is very little anyone can do to get Greece back in with all of this airing their dirty laudry infighting. Calmer heads did not prevail after the Greeks elected this Syriza government. Austerity and internal deflation have political consequence. The EU wont work with Syriza, but an overwhelming majority of Greeks approve of them. Would not be at all surprised if we see a Grexident soon. Only then will all of the self appointed experts report what really went wrong here, just like with Lehman. Heads will roll after the fact. Not Obama's call to make. His advice? Play nice guys. Geithner shook his head in disbelief at how this matter was handled quite sometime ago as well. Little good anyone can do the Greeks now. This situation calls for Greek self help. No not the Troika's prescription. Sorry to say, there is no way around declaring insolvency, rebooting, and starting over.