Europe News

Greece lashes out as pressure to reform rises

Greek bailout extension is difficult: Fin Min

Germany and the rest of euro zone have begun to tighten the screws on the Greek government, urging it to implement reforms it promised to get its four-month extension on its bailout now. However in the meantime, Athens has only managed this weekend to alienate itself further from its neighbors.

The German government approved Greece's bailout extension on Friday. But this does not mean that Greece is under any less pressure to overhaul its economy and the way it does business.

On Sunday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged the Greek government to use the time to implement its reform plans if it wanted to secure future help from abroad. Meanwhile, in an interview with the Financial Times on Sunday, Jeroen Djisselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, warned Greece had to start adopting economic reforms demanded by its creditors if it was to receive a remaining tranche of aid from its bailout program.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Luxembourg Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna said that Greece had been given flexibility over reform measures and now needed to do its bit to stay within the bailout program.

"If the Greek government wants to do more social measures they can do that but they have to stay inside the program, so we have shown that we trust the government that they can do it and that they have room for manouver," Gramegna said, speaking to CNBC on the sidelines of the Global Financial Markets Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Read MoreGermans fed up with 'insulting' Greeks

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (R) sits next to Finance Minister Yianis Varoufakis.
Louisa Gouliamaki | AFP | Getty Images

"They must now stay in the program, they have the flexibility they need and after that has been assessed there's room for negotiation and discussion (over the bailout) but today, it is too early."

It's been a tumultuous period for euro zone relations since the anti-austerity, left-wing Government came to power in snap elections in Greece in late January. The government had initially said it would scrap the country's onerous bailout terms including austerity measures, and demanded a debt haircut.

Read More'It's treason! 'Greek anger at government U-turn

However, it was soon forced to retreat on those demands when it because clear that the troika of organizations overseeing the country's bailouts – it has now had two since 2010, totaling 240 billion euros ($272 billion) – was not going to budge. After fraught negotiations, Greece was given a four-month extension to its current bailout program on the condition that it enacted a series of reforms – some of which it proposed itself.

'Anti-Athens axis'

Despite the deal, relations have not improved between Greece and its neighbors. In fact, they appear to have deteriorated.

On Friday, a German official told CNBC that the Greek finance minister was "insulting" towards them during tense bailout negotiations. This weekend, it was Spain and Portugal's turn to be offended after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of trying to undermine Greece during negotiations to extend the country's bailout.

"We found opposing us an axis of powers ... led by the governments of Spain and Portugal which for obvious political reasons attempted to lead the entire negotiations to the brink," Tsipras told his Syriza party on Saturday, accusing the governments in those countries of trying to sabotage and topple the new Greek government, Reuters reported.

Spain and Portugal's premiers denied the accusations on Sunday with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy – who is also facing the rise of a left-wing, anti- austerity party, Podemos – saying that Spain was not to blame for Greek frustrations " generated by the radical Greek left that promised the Greeks something it couldn't deliver on," he said.

Luxembourg's Gramegna said it was important for both sides to show respect for each other and that Greece should not be "provocative" in its dealings with its neighbors.

Read MoreWhy Greece will never repay its debt

"We need respect from both sides. Respect is not a one-way street and I ask all the countries to show respect for each other because that's the only way we're going to get out of this difficult (economic) situation," he said,

Lastly, he said that Spain -- where GDP grew 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the previous quarter, data showed last week -- demonstrated that the path of austerity could lead to growth.

"Let's look at the facts, Spain has had a deep crisis itself but has emerged from it…so it shows that the programs that the euro zone has implemented are working contrary to what some analysts say about Greece."

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld