Europe ‘ready to work’ with Syriza—with provisos

Euro zone officials stand ready to discuss the terms of Greece's debt burden with Syriza—but only if the anti-austerity party sticks to the previously-agreed bailout conditions.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, congratulated Syriza on its victory in this weekend's national election in Greece, but refused to commit to further easing in the repayment terms of the country's international loans.

"They have made a clear victory and that deserves congratulation, and of course I wish them a lot of success in their new job in Athens. We stand ready to work with them, as we have worked with the previous Greek government," Dijsselbloem told CNBC on Monday.

But he added that Greece's international partners had already "done a lot" to lift the debt burden for Greece over the last couple of years, "in terms of interest and maturities and the length of the loans."

"We have always said that we will continue to work with them—if the Greeks commit to what we have agreed," he said.


The far-left Syriza party agreed on Monday to work in a coalition government with the right-wing Independent Greeks. The two populist parties share a loathing of austerity and Greece's international creditors.

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Syriza's leader Alexis Tsipras has sworn to renegotiate Greece's international debt agreements, which saw the country receive a 240 billion euro ($270 billion) bailout in exchange for imposing strict austerity measures that proved highly unpopular with the Greek populace.

Dijsselbloem told CNBC that Greece's "debt sustainability issues" could not be discussed until the fifth review of Greece's austerity progress and budget was complete.

The final instalment of Greece's loans also hinges on this review.

"We have always said that we would come back to debt sustainability issues after the completion of the fifth review. That is already pending. It is too early to say," said Dijsselbloem, who is the minister of finance for the Netherlands.

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Ireland's finance minister said on Monday that there was scope to relieve Greece's debt burden by cutting interest rates and giving the country more time to repay, according to Reuters.