Greece's talks with its euro zone neighbors over its debt burden and bailout program came to a climax in Germany Thursday as the two countries' combative finance ministers met for the first time.
After a week of touring Europe's financial capitals in an attempt to drum up support for a renegotiation of Greek bailout program -- and a decision by the euro zone's central bank to cut off cash to Greek banks -- Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin Thursday.
Speaking at a press conference following their meeting, Schaeuble said that to summarize the talks they had "agreed to disagree" but that they both had a "moral duty as Europeans to understand each other and to find solutions."
Talks between the two ministers were expected to be tense, to say the least, with analysts speculating that Germany could put the final nail in the coffin for Greece's hopes of a debt deal with its fellow euro zone countries and the "troika" of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and international Monetary Fund.
Schaeuble said reforms were unavoidable in Greece and that the government had to cooperate with the troika. "We agreed that the haircut is not on the agenda, it's off the table," Scheuble added. "Everybody in Europe can be rest assured that Germany will do everything in its power to ensure that Europe is fit for the future."
He said he was "skeptical" about some of Greece's proposals, though he did not specify which ones, although he could have been referring to an earlier proposal from Varoufakis this week to swap Greek debt for growth-linked bonds.
Following Schaeuble's comments, Varoufakis said from his standpoint "they didn't agree to disagree but had agreed to enter into joint deliberations" to find solutions to a "seemingly never-ending crisis."
"It's time to draw a line and put an end to it," he said, adding that Greece would "stop at nothing" to combat tax evasion and the country's "flimsy business model."
"From our government you can expect a frenzy of reasonableness," he said and a readiness to implement macro-economic reforms that work -- but he emphasized Greece needed time.