NEWS

Tsipras sees loan deal this week

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday said an EU summit this week would address his country’s cash shortage despite what he described as attempts by some European nations to scupper a deal.

“The issue will be dealt with at a political level by the end of the week, until the summit or if need be, at the summit itself,” Tsipras told Ethnos daily.

The PM added that at the March 19-20 talks, Athens would face opposition from European nations “existentially linked with austerity” who were “playing with Europes future.”

But he insisted that other ‘prudent political forces’ would not allow the talks to collapse.

The Greek state is facing a cash squeeze this month because it has not yet received the remaining funds from its 240-billion-euro ($255-billion) EU-IMF rescue package as the new government is still locked in talks with its international creditors on a revised reform plan.

Tsipras did not identify the countries in question, but Germany has publicly opposed Greece’s plans to revise the terms of its bailout.

The PM recently also singled out the conservative administrations of Spain and Portugal for allegedly trying to block Athens’ plans.

Greece on Monday repaid over 500 million euros to the International Monetary Fund. On Friday it has to pay over 300 million to the IMF, and redeem 1.6 billion euros in treasury bills.

To meet the payments, Athens will auction 1.0 billion euros in three-month treasury bills on Wednesday.

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Sunday warned that Greek civil servants should brace themselves for downsized salaries and pensions this month.

European parliament president Martin Schulz also told the daily: “Tsipras urgently needs money.”

But the Greek PM insisted on Monday in his interview that there was “no danger to salaries and pensions..and no threat to bank deposits.”

In addition to holding back promised funds, the European Central Bank has limited the power of Greek banks to assist the state by buying its short-term treasury bills.

Schulz this weekend also bemoaned Tsipras’ decision to ally himself with a nationalist party to form a government in January.

The Greek PM responded to the criticism on Monday by saying “each of us should look to their own affairs. Greece is not a colony.”

[AFP]