Dijsselbloem: Greece bailout talks ‘progressing’

“Intensive talks on a loan deal with debt-strapped Greece are “making progress,” Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Tuesday.

“We are intensively busy with the Greeks and we are making progress, I would say cautiously,” Dijsselbloem told local television station RTL Z.

Negotiations with Greece’s international creditors went down to the wire on Monday, with Athens’ radical SYRIZA-led government and its EU-IMF creditors deadlocked for months over the reforms needed to release a final 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in bailout funds.

Dijsselbloem said it was “not a given” any breakthrough would be made at an eastern partnership summit in Riga that starts on Thursday.

“Of course, government leaders will be there and anything can be discussed, but it’s not a given,” Dijsselbloem said in answer to a question on whether Greece could “hope for extra help.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Berlin on Tuesday that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras would be at the Riga summit and that “well see if opportunities for discussion emerge.”

French President Francois Holland added “we will have the opportunity to talk to Mr Tspiras” in Riga, without specifying who would join the talks.

Both Merkel and Hollande urged speedy efforts for Greece to reach a deal.

Greek government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told reporters in Athens on Monday “a deal is required immediately, this is why we are talking about the end of May.” [AFP]

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