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Greek debt plans test EU patience

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 02:15

Worries over the prospect of Greece defaulting on debt payments due on Thursday ease after Yanis Varoufakis said the country would meet ''all its obligations'', but as Joel Flynn reports, finding the money for it might not be as straightforward.

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Another day in Greece, another debt payment deadline looming. It needs to pay the IMF 450 million euros on Thursday, as part of its bailout programme. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis trying to calm market fears of a default. SOUNDBITE: Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, saying (Greek): "The Greek government always fulfils its obligations to all its lenders, and that is what it will always continue to do." But there are questions over where it will find the money. One idea - the 279 billion euros Greece says Germany owes it in reparations for the Nazi occupation of the country - a claim unlikely to help already strained relations. Bavaria's state finance minister Markus Soeder. SOUNDBITE: Bavarian State Finance Minister, Markus Soeder, saying (German): "This is an issue that shouldn't be exploited to explain budget deficits in Greece; it comes across as inappropriate and in my view is the wrong strategy entirely. The German government has said it considers the issue closed, which I support." Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Moscow on Wednesday - a move likely to upset Greece's creditors. Fears among some that Russia could give Greece money in exchange for a veto on EU sanctions against the Kremlin. On the streets of Athens though, Greeks are pleased with Tsipras' multilateral approach. SOUNDBITE: Athens Resident, George, saying (Greek): "It won't make our partners happy, but they need to know that if they won't fund us, if they threaten to strangle us, close our banks and criticise Greece for having no money, then Tsipras is doing the right thing." SOUNDBITE: Athens Resident, George Pappas, saying (Greek): "I think he's doing the right thing, he needs all these alliances, with Russia, the U.S. and Europe. He's making a lot of effort and they'll be proven right if he gets results." It's a tense game of politics though for the Greek prime minister, say analysts. Mike Ingram is from BGC Partners. SOUNDBITE: BGC Partners Market Analyst, Mike Ingram, saying (English): "I'm not entirely sure what the strategy is, other than getting your creditors as irate as possible. In terms of its stance towards Germany, World War Two reparations etc, I can't shake off a niggling doubt that Greece to some extent wants to be pushed out of the euro zone." Tsipras may have promised an end to bailout austerity. But he's quickly running out of options to pay for it.

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Greek debt plans test EU patience

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 02:15