EU warns Athens that its patience is running thin

Chris Papadopoullos
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Talks between Greek PM Alex Tsipras (right) and other EU leaders went late into the night
TALKS between Greece and its creditors in the Eurogroup continued late into last night, but there was no indication of a thaw in the frosty relations between Athens and Germany.

And the Eurozone leaders cont­inued with their tough line, warning the left-wing Syriza-led government that their patience was running out.

Athens, they made clear, must implement agreed reforms to avert a looming cash crunch that could force it out of the single currency.

The chairman of Eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, told reporters that progress, he said, “seems to be small. Time is ticking away, so we don’t have a lot of time.”

A person familiar with European Central Bank (ECB) thinking said its president Mario Draghi had stressed to the Greeks that the bank would not lift its limit on short-term debt issuance, which finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said is “asphyxiating” his country.

“It’s up to Greece to meet its commitments in order to get money from its creditors,” said the person. “The ECB doesn’t do bridge finance.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who dampened hopes that progress would be made at the meeting, saying: “Don’t expect a solution, don’t expect a breakthrough. It’s not the right setting.”

Amid indications that there would be further talks next week, she added: “There remains a very tough way ahead. Greece must understand that international aid brought with it an obligation “to reform its budget and work towards one day no longer needing help”.