NEWS

Stournaras says Greek deposits safe but not sure when troika talks will conclude

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras reassured Greeks on Monday that their deposits were safe despite plans for a merger between National Bank and Eurobank being abandoned.

“Deposits are absolutely secure,” he told journalists after a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to assess the state of negotiations with the troika.

Stournaras had been due to meet the officials from the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank on Monday but these talks were postponed until Tuesday afternoon.

“There is no problem, in fact today was a quiet day,” said the minister.

It is thought Stournaras would like the talks with the troika to be completed by Thursday ahead of Eurogroup meeting. However, on Monday the finance minister admitted that he did not know if the talks would be over by then.

The two sides are trying to agree on a range of reforms so Greece’s lenders can disburse the delayed March instalment of bailout funding, worth 2.8 billion euros, and the tranche due after that, worth 6 billion euros.

Athens is hoping that the 2.8 billion euros will be transferred this month and the decision on the next tranche will be taken at a Eurogroup on May 13.

Greece has bonds worth 5.6 billion euros maturing on May 20.

The disbursement of the smaller tranche is dependant on an agreement regarding sackings in the civil service, an issue on which the two sides appear to be closer to an agreement after talks over the weekend.

There has reportedly been an agreement that the government will be able to hire a new civil servant for each of the bureaucrats it is forced to fire over the next few months.