MOSCOW, February 3 (Sputnik) — The European Central Bank is exploring the possibility of quitting the “troika” of international lenders administering Greece’s outstanding debt, the German business newspaper Handelsblatt said Tuesday.
The report comes after Athens announced an end to cooperation with the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), arguing that the painful austerity program required by the lenders should be canceled and the debt reduced.
The newspaper cited a German party speaker in the European Parliament who proposed to turn the ECB into an advisory body, only going to the IMF for funds after all other resources have been exhausted.
The troika has overseen Greece’s failed austerity and reform program, accepted by the country as a promise of good fiscal behavior, in exchange for a $146 billion loan in 2010. The 2008 global financial downturn was especially devastating to the Greek economy.
The newly elected Greek left-wing Syriza party promised an end to the austerity programs and a reduction of Greece’s debt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last Saturday it was very unlikely that Greece would be able to renegotiate its debt, as the troika had already written off billions and were unlikely to agree to more.