Monday

22nd Apr 2019

Greece hopes for bailout deal this week

  • Finland and Germany remain sceptical about a quick deal (Photo: consillium)

The Greek government hopes negotiations for a new bailout will be concluded this week, with eurozone finance ministers possibly endorsing the plan as soon as Friday (14 August).

Greece needs the up-to €86 billion bailout before next Thursday (20 August), when it has to repay €3.2 billion to the European Central Bank (ECB).

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Talks between Greek finance and economy ministers, Euclid Tsakalotos and George Stathakis, and representatives of Greece's creditors, the EU, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), were held all weekend.

Economic reforms, budget cuts, and prior actions - the measures to be taken before the first aid payment is disbursed - were discussed, according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters news agency.

"Efforts are being made to conclude the negotiations, the horizon is by Monday night or early Tuesday", a Greek official was quoted as saying by Kathimerini newspaper.

If talks are concluded, the Greek parliament could be called back from its summer recess to vote on a two-article bill comprised of the memorandum of understanding signed with the creditors and of a list of prior actions to take.

As for the reforms voted on 15 and 22 July as a condition to start the bailout negotiations, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras will have rely on opposition parties to gather a majority.

As rebels from Tsipras' own Syriza party continue to oppose the conditions of the bailout deal, Nikos Pappas, a minister without portfolio, warned on Sunday that Syriza would not allow "a party within a party".

“If some of our lawmakers decide to withdraw their confidence towards to government, the rift that was created in the last votes in parliament will be unavoidably turned into a void,” Pappas said in an interview to Real News newspaper, once again fuelling speculations over a snap election after the summer.

Meanwhile, doubts remain over the commitment of some eurozone countries to reach a bailout deal.

Media reports said over the weekend that German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble favoured new bridge financing for Greece instead of the three-year bailout under discussion.

Such a delay to a full-blown bailout would give the creditors more time to press Greece to pass structural reforms demanded by Germany.

"Better in-depth than in a haste", Schaeuble's deputy Jens Spahn tweeted on Friday.

In Finland, foreign affairs minister and leader of the eurosceptic True Finns Timo Soini, said the bailout plan would not work and hinted that his country might stay out.

"We're really out of patience. Our government has a very tight policy on this. We will not accept increasing Finland's liabilities, or cuts in Greece's debts", Soini said in an interview.

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The Greek government says it has agreed terms with creditors on a third aid programme. But questions remain over the amount of the bailout and IMF participation.

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