Greeks will always have Paris as bailout extension looms

Antonis Samaras’s plans to sever an international lifeline that has kept Greeceafloat since 2010 are adrift, after representatives of the Greek government and its creditors failed to break a deadlock over future financing in talks that ran deep into the Parisian night.

The annual ritual of haggling over budget numbers, a feature of Greece’s scrutiny since its 2010 bailout, took to the road this year with two rounds of negotiations in the French capital that broke up yesterday.

While the backdrop may have changed from the concrete block of the Greek Finance Ministry ringed with Athens protesters to a leafy private street off the Avenue Foch, the bleary eyes after all-night deliberations that yielded few results remained very much the same.

“Huge consumption of coffee, occasionally sandwiches or souvlaki accompanied by a can of beer; exchange of arguments — sometimes interesting, sometimes tedious and repetitive” are the order of the day, or rather night, Panos Tsakloglou, who has first-hand experience of the talks, said in an e-mail.

Tsakloglou was Greece’s representative in the working group of senior euro-area finance ministry officials until June and is now a professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business.

In this round, neither side was prepared to accept the arguments of the other, meaning that an impasse over freeing up the last tranche of the country’s bailout remains in place.