NEWS

Tsipras, lenders point to progress after talks but differences remain

After around five hours of talks in Brussels aimed at sealing an agreement with Greece’s creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters early on Thursday that there had been progress, particularly vis-a-vis Greece’s primary surplus targets, noting however that talks would continue over the “next days.”

Tsipras, who met with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, referred to the “constructive” stance of the European Commission during the discussions and said the two sides were “very close” on primary surplus targets.

However, in an acknowledgement of the differences that remain to be bridged between the two sides, Tsipras said that the “realistic proposals” were those of the Greek government.

He referred in particular to proposed pension cuts which he indicated that Greece could not accept.

Asked by reporters whether Greece would be able make its next payment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday, Mr. Tsipras said, “Don’t worry about it,” noting that Greece has already repaid billions to the Fund.

Dijsselbloem was characteristically terse but said the talks were “very good” and would continue over the next few days.

In a statement, the EC referred to a “good, constructive meeting,” and signaled that there would be another meeting, saying ” intense work will continue.”