Friday 13 February 2015 1:56 am

Merkel refuses to budge on Greek debt repayments: "Europe's credibility depends on us sticking to the rules"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken a hard line with Greece: the country's options are limited to completing all the requirements of the €172bn (£127.5bn) bailout or asking for an extension, she said last night.

Ostensibly at least, there is no wiggle room for Athens, and no room for its preferred option of a revised agreement with fewer austerity demands.

Merkel’s comments came after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Thursday’s EU summit in Brussels, and could be seen as an opening salvo before the group of EU finance ministers meets again on Monday.

Europe always aims to find a compromise, and that is the success of Europe. Germany is ready for that. However, it must also be said that Europe’s credibility naturally depends on us respecting rules and being reliable with each other.

In a more hopeful signal, Tsipras and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chair of the committee of 18 Eurozone finance ministers, agreed they would start new talks with the Troika to find a way forward. The talks will begin on Friday.