Greece hasn’t agreed to a 1 percent primary surplus this year, says Varoufakis

Greece has not agreed to meet a primary budget surplus of 1 percent for this year, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told parliament on Thursday, amid talks between the Greek premier and European leaders over a cash-for-reforms deal in Brussels.

The level of primary surplus that Athens should aim for has been a sticking point in the negotiations as time runs out for Greece to stave off a default by the end of June. Greece’s lenders want a target of 1 percent on the surplus, which excludes debt payments.

In its latest proposal, Greece wants a surplus target of 0.6 percent of gross domestic product this year, although a Greek minister said on Wednesday that the government could agree to raise this to 0.8-0.85 percent.

“We have not under any circumstances agreed to 1 percent for this year as it was reported,” Varoufakis told parliament. “This kind of approach is part of the problem and not the solution and we are not going to sign this.”