Greece Racing Against Time to Strike Deal with Creditors

World » EU | June 4, 2015, Thursday // 15:26
Bulgaria: Greece Racing Against Time to Strike Deal with Creditors European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) welcomes Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (L) prior to a meeting at the EU commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 03 June 2015. EPA/BGNES

With Friday’s deadline for repaying over EUR 300 M of debt to the IMF drawing closer, Greece is racing against time to clinch a reforms-for-cash deal with its creditors that will help the country avert default.

Crucial talks in Brussels between the radical left-wing overnment of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker ended inconclusively late on Wednesday but both participants said they hoped to meet again soon.

Tsipras said the talks will continue in the coming days, adding ”there was proof from the Commission that it is at least disposed towards reaching a realistic agreement very quickly," AFP reported on Thursday.

And the BBC quoted Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem as saying after the meeting that the talks between Tsipras and Juncker were "very good" and would resume in a few days. The anti-austerity cabinet of Tsipras hoping for a deal by June 14, according to Greek media reports.

The news agency also quoted Juncker as telling a committee hearing at the European Parliament on Thursday he had to leave “to prepare the next round of negotiations”.

The fundamental disagreement between Greece and its creditors – the Eurozone nations, the European Central Bank and the IMF - is over the degree of further austerity to which Greece must commit in order to receive EUR 7.2 B of bailout aid – the last tranche of the current rescue package - to be able to make debt repayments.

Greece is keen on avoiding discussion on new austerity measures such as pension cuts and an increase in sales tax for electricity.

According to The Guardian, Tsipras is preparing to hold an “emergency” cabinet meeting possibly as early as this afternoon to discuss the latest developments.

Increasing Value Added Tax “to 11 % and 23 % in bid to raise internal revenue of EUR 1.8 B this year and cuts in social security system amounting to 1% of GDP are reportedly on the agenda for the meeting, The Guardian said.

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Tags: greece, EU, Tsipras, Juncker, debt, IMF, austerity, Dijsselbloem
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