UK

George Osborne Utterly Fails To Keep Cool Meeting Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis

02/02/2015 15:11 GMT | Updated 02/02/2015 16:59 GMT

Sashaying up the Downing Street catwalk like a meeting with the Chancellor was meerly an after-thought following a big night on the London tiles, Greece's rockstar new finance minister greeted a geekily-beaming George Osborne.

Syriza's Yanis Varoufakis secured backing from France for his country's bid to renegotiate its debt during discussions in Paris yesterday, where he began a whistle-stop tour, flying economy, meeting European counterparts. But German chancellor Angela Merkel has made it clear she will not allow Greece's debts to be cancelled, insisting substantial cuts have already been made.

It was unlikely to be a meeting of minds the Government has made it clear it believes that Greece must honour its international commitments. David Cameron has offered to send British experts to help sort out Greece's lamentable rate of tax collection, although it's safe to say that is not exactly what Varoufakis is looking for.

Still, Osborne came out to hear what the new leftist finance minister had to say.

Yanis Varoufakis meets George Osborne

David Cameron's official spokesman said that the visit was "an opportunity for an introductory meeting between the Chancellor and his new Greek counterpart".

Asked whether the UK felt that Greece should stick to the terms of its bail-out, the spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: "The position hasn't changed about expecting all countries to fulfill their international obligations. There is a continuity in our approach. What we have here is the latest development in the very significant pressures we have seen in the eurozone over a considerable period of time now.

"The UK's approach has been one of encouraging and supporting the eurozone's discussions with a view to bringing about the jobs and growth in that part of the global economy which it is in our economic interest to see. I think we will continue in that way.

"I think what the Chancellor and his Greek counterpart will be talking about is how the Greek government and the eurozone countries are going to have a dialogue in the coming weeks."

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