Britain’s Treasury chief warned that the standoff between Greece and the eurozone over the country’s bailout is endangering the global economy, urging the new government in Athens to act responsibly.
George Osborne characterized his talks with Greece’s new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Monday as «constructive,» but cautioned that now was the time to «choose competence over chaos.» He urged the eurozone countries to come up with a better plan for jobs and growth in Greece.
«It’s clear that the standoff between Greece and the eurozone is fast becoming the biggest risk to the global economy, and it’s a rising threat to our economy at home,» Osborne said.
Greece’s radical left Syriza party won parliamentary elections last week, alarming investors and eurozone governments. Party leader and new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he wants to end years of budget austerity that eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund had required in exchange for 240 billion-euro ($270 billion) in rescue loans. He also wants to renegotiate payment of the bailout debt.
Greece’s finance minister will meet with investors and fund managers in London on Monday as he continues his tour of European capitals to drum up support for his government’s demands.
Though Britain is not part of the euro, Varoufakis sought to build rapport with Osborne with face-to-face talks. Downing Street described Britain’s position is one of continuity — and that Greece should honor the terms of its bailout.