BUSINESS

Mission chiefs on way back to Athens for bailout talks, says Commission

TAGS: Economy, Euro

The mission chiefs of Greece's lenders are set to resume talks in Athens after progress made in recent days towards concluding a review of Greek reforms, the European Commission said on Monday.

"Following constructive talks in Washington, the mission chiefs are returning to Athens today and tomorrow. The aim of the mission remains to conclude the first review of the programme as soon as possible," a Commission spokesman told a news conference in Brussels.

International lenders and the Greek authorities were in contact last week in Washington during the International Monetary Fund's meetings.

A regular meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Amsterdam on April 22 would be an important moment to take stock of progress made, the spokesman said, but declined to say when an agreement was likely to be reached.

"We have made progress and the momentum should be maintained," he added.

Talks on the review of Greek reforms have dragged on for months partly because the International Monetary Fund and EU institutions cannot agree between themselves on some assumptions and scenarios of how the Greek economy might develop.

Euro zone lenders and the IMF are divided on some targets set out in the latest Greek bailout, notably a primary surplus goal of 3.5 percent of GDP for 2018 and beyond. The IMF says it is unrealistic to expect Greece to keep such a surplus for decades.

"The budgetary targets fixed last summer for the period after 2018 must be respected," the Commission spokesman said.

[Reuters]

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