Tsipras gauges ministers before talks resume

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras chaired a meeting of his cabinet on Friday night to brief ministers on the state of talks with the eurozone but also to assess his own room for maneuver ahead of Monday’s Eurogroup.

With the possibility of the government having to make a compromise with the eurozone over the way forward in the next few days, Tsipras was eager to assess the mood of his cabinet. Some members, such as Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis have been adamant that the government should stick to its pre-election pledges.

Overall, the government is not holding out much hope for a solution in Brussels on Monday. “There have been some positive steps but there is a lot of ground that has to be covered,” said a government source.

Sources also insisted that the Greek government would not be willing to back down from its position on certain issues such as labor regulations, privatizations and the lowering of the primary surplus target. Athens believes that the two sides can find common ground on issues like public administration reform, improving tax collection and tackling corruption.

“Greeks should understand that this is a critical and difficult negotiation, the pressure is enormous,” said government spokesman Gavriil Sakellaridis. “We will do whatever we can so that a deal is found on Monday,” he told Skai TV. “If we don’t have an agreement on Monday, we believe that there is always time so that there won’t be a problem.”