Dijsselbloem: Very few red lines in Greek talks

Dijsselbloem: Very few red lines in Greek talks

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, expects Greece’s spending cuts and reforms plans to be finalized by the group’s May 24 summit, so talks can start about what is likely to be a three-staged debt relief program.

Dijsselbloem told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that talks about Greece between the eurozone’s finance ministers had gone refreshingly smoothly on Monday, after what had been some ominous pre-meeting noises from Germany and the International Monetary Fund.

He is now hoping Athens can finalize its spending cuts, privatization and reform plans in time for the next round of discussions on May 24 to keep the momentum going.

“So I’d like in the next Eurogroup to have a full and formal agreement on everything,” he said on the sidelines of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s annual meeting.

He said he wanted final details on pension reforms, tax reforms, a privatization fund and contingency mechanism “done and dusted” by the next meeting.

“The good thing about the Eurogroup meeting was that there were very [few] red lines, very little no-gos. The only big no-go is the nominal haircut [writedown of debt],” Dijsselbloem said.


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