NEWS

Bid to get SYRIZA behind deal as eurozone officials meet

TAGS: Diplomacy, Politics, Economy

A session of the Euro Working Group on Thursday is to determine how much progress has been achieved in bailout talks between the Greek government and the country’s creditors following Wednesday’s confusion.

Greek and European officials refuted a Reuters report that a deal had been reached on pensions and labor reforms on Wednesday and sources said it was unlikely bailout monitors would return to Athens imminently. 

Even if progress is made in the coming days, and foreign envoys return to Athens, the goal of a technical-level agreement at the next Eurogroup, on April 7, appears out of reach. An “in principle” deal would be enough, however, to allow the launch of talks on specifying the medium-term debt measures creditors have pledged, which could, in turn, secure the International Monetary Fund’s participation in the third bailout program.

Another sticking point is the liberalization of the energy market. Resistance is still strong within SYRIZA to creditors’ demands for the sell-off of 40 percent of Public Power Corporation plants.

Interior Minister Panos Skourletis caused waves by suggesting that technical staff representing Greece’s creditors were “middlemen for interests” eyeing a foothold in the energy market. Ministers are said to have eased opposition by saying Greek interests could buy back power plants. A session of the party’s political secretariat is to be held to secure support.

It remained unclear when new measures would be legislated, with government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos saying on Wednesday that a bill would only go to Parliament after an agreement on the debt.

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