ECONOMY

Greece talks ‘on the right track’, says France’s Sapin

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said Thursday that talks to secure a Greek bailout deal and prevent Athens from going bankrupt were “truly on the right track”.

His comments came after late-night talks in Brussels ended without a breakthrough, but an agreement with the leaders of France and Germany to intensify efforts to strike the crucial debt deal.

“Last night, things moved in the right direction,” Sapin said of the talks between Greek premier Alexis Tsipras, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

He said this should “allow considerable progress in the coming days.”

As part of the intensified efforts, Tsipras was to meet with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker later Thursday.

The EUs economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici meanwhile said that if the political will was there, a deal could be struck between Athens and its creditors, but “were not there yet.”

“I really like Greek tragedy but I think that now we really need to move on to a happy ending,” Moscovici told RTL radio.

“Talks have really progressed these last few weeks, we are near the landing strip.”

However he said “differences of opinion” remained, notably on Greece’s primary surplus targets — the difference between government revenue and spending.

Greece’s creditors have refused to release the last 7.2 billion euros ($8.1 billion) remaining in its EU-IMF bailout, which is due to expire on June 30, unless Athens agrees to tougher reforms.

[AFP]