And Germany isn’t the only eurozone member to indicate reluctance to give Greece a big break. Finland shares Germany’s reluctance to risk taxpayer money more by lending it to Greece. Other countries like Ireland and Portugal, which have complied with their own austerity bailouts, want Greece to do the same.
And inevitably in politically charged negotiations there are differences in style and approach. The Germans, in particular, were alarmed by the confrontational attitude of the Greek delegation headed by Mr. Varoufakis, which is unusually outspoken and telegenic. It represents a head-on challenge to the established order of silent, behind-the-scenes negotiation that characterizes most Europe agreements.
Monday’s chaotic Eurogroup meeting, which included a flurry of leaks, could have given the impression that “texts were circulating under coats,” Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, told reporters.
Since that latest acrimonious meeting, senior officials have suggested that Varoufakis circulated documents in an attempt to portray a split between Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Pierre Moscovici, the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs. , who helped negotiate the talks.
“In a working process, various documents are circulating,” said Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European Commission, on Wednesday. “But at the end of the day, the question, which apparently was raised by Minister Varoufakis, was to try to find divisions between the president of the Eurogroup and Commissioner Moscovici,” he said.
“There are no divisions,” he insisted. “There is a common understanding of the institutions on how to move forward. “