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Greece expects bailout deal Friday, says gov’t spokesman

TAGS: EU, Politics

Greece expects it will reach a deal with its creditors this week, after months of fruitless talks that have raised concern about its economic recovery, the government spokesman said on Thursday.

“I think a very positive outcome Friday is very likely,” Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told Antenna TV, referring to a meeting of eurozone ministers in Malta.

“We made a great effort in order to bridge the differences and find an efficient solution,” he added.

A day earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras warned that it would take a full summit of eurozone leaders to resolve the issue if no agreement was forthcoming Friday.

“If the Eurogroup is not in a position to (produce a result) Friday, I have asked EU President Donald Tusk to call a summit of eurozone countries,” Tsipras said after meeting with Tusk.

However, both Tsipras and Tusk then insisted such a step would not be necessary.

EU economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici Thursday tweeted that an agreement Friday was “within reach if all partners engage in good faith.”

Negotiations between Athens and its eurozone and IMF creditors have dragged on for months amid disagreements on debt relief and budget targets for the country.

Tsipras Wednesday accused hardline creditors of making “absurd demands” and “shifting the goalposts.”

Athens says its economy is performing better than expected, and it should therefore not be asked to make sacrifices beyond those agreed in its current multi-billion-euro bailout, which ends in 2018.

“I think everyone in Europe has understood that Greece has achieved impressive fiscal results,” Tzanakopoulos said on Thursday.

According to reports, the creditors are refusing to conclude the current audit without a pledge for fresh cuts in 2019.

Among the measures reportedly demanded by Greece’s creditors are additional pension cuts, a reduced tax-exemption ceiling, and further deregulation of the energy and labor markets.

The impasse has held up the latest installment of Greece’s 86-billion-euro ($92-billion) bailout, agreed in 2015, which it needs for debt repayments in July.

[AFP]

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