Greek envoys in Brussels to try and break bailout stalemate


Greek envoys in Brussels to try and break bailout stalemate

Eurozone chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said before the meeting in Valletta, Malta, that "the good thing is that we have achieved results" over the past days in talks between Greece and its creditors.

A man looks down as a Greek national flag flutters atop one of the bastions of the 17th century fortress of Palamidi under an overcast sky at the southern port city of Nafplio, Greece, February 19.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will demand a eurozone summit if creditor talks on Friday fail to break months of deadlock over the country's debt and reform goals.

The measures will include pension cuts in 2019 worth 1 per cent of Greece's gross domestic product, and an increase in tax revenues in 2020 worth another 1 per cent through broadening the tax base.

He said that the Commission expected Greece to have reached a primary surplus - the budget balance before debt-servicing costs - a year ago of above 3 percent of gross domestic product, much higher than required by creditors that had set a target of 0.5 percent for 2016.

"My guess is that the Greek government got a stern warning from the ECB (European Central Bank)/Bank of Greece that a further impasse would have meant a severe hit to the economy via capital outflows", Claus Vistesen, chief euro zone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told CNBC via email about Friday's agreement.

Regarding the primary surplus targets after 2018, Tsakalotos cited the reply given by Dijsselbloem and noted that the priority now was the return of the institutions to Athens to conclude a staff-level agreement on Greece.

The last time, Greece faced potential bankruptcy was in July 2015, when the Tsipras government eventually agreed a three-year bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($91 billion). "I will do my work", he said.

Heavily-indebted Athens and the European Union and International Monetary Fund which handle the bailout, have been deadlocked over reforms for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets.

Greece gave in and accepted a tough set of reforms with its eurozone creditors on Friday in hopes of unlocking bailout cash in time to avert a looming debt default.

Dijsselbloem said that progress made would allow a mission of negotiators to return to Greece "as soon as possible", although no date has been fixed yet.

His leftist-led coalition has just 153 MPs in the 300-seat parliament, which would make it hard for Tsipras to push through another package of unpopular austerity measures.



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