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Greece raises stakes ahead of debt talks

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 02:07

Greek bonds and stocks have rebounded ahead of an emergency meeting of euro zone finance ministers. But as David Pollard reports, the country's defence minister is suggesting Greece could secure financial help from outside the EU if a deal isn't reached.

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Greece is said to be the birthplace of the ancient art of rhetoric. Something that's still going strong. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, YANIS VAROUFAKIS, SAYING: "Our government, like the previous one, is under suffocating pressure, existing in a realm of threats that does not conform with European ideals. We are being pressured to accept a programme for which, unlike previous governments, we were elected in order to contest its logic." After Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, came another warning. Panos Kammenos, defence minister and leader of Syriza's junior coalition partner, Independent Greeks, said Greece could turn to the US for help if Europe doesn't agree a new debt deal. Failing that, China or Russia. Jeremy Stretch is Head of Currency Strategy at CIBC. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY STRETCH, HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY AT CIBC WORLD MARKETS, SAYING: ''Clearly Greece are raising the stakes ahead of the Eurozone finance ministers meeting tomorrow ... But I think it's merely a negotiating tactic and of course in terms of those two economies, the Russians have inherent problems of their own supporting their own industries on their doorstep.'' Even so, it was enough to send a shiver through European markets. Though here in Vienna, there was some glimmer of support for Greek PM, Alexis Tsipras. Austria's Chancellor saying a way has to be found to keep Greece in the euro zone. It all sets the stage for a showdown in Brussels. Greek leaders likely to push for a so-called bridge agreement at this week's summit. Brussels likely to push back with demands for Greece to recommit to reform as a precondition for anything. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY STRETCH, HEAD OF CURRENCY STRATEGY AT CIBC WORLD MARKETS, SAYING: ''I suspect ultimately there will be a degree of negotiation at the eleventh hour, but that's not to say that markets aren't going to remain inherently nervous until we get towards some degree of conciliation between the two sides, but it doesn't look as though we're getting anything other than a degree of megaphone diplomacy at this particular juncture.'' Greek stocks and bonds were recovering ahead of meeting - markets perhaps relieved that talks were finally close to happening. But with a huge game of euro zone chicken seemingly just getting underway, they're likely be disappointed if they hope for an early outcome.

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Greece raises stakes ahead of debt talks

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 02:07