Gov’t, creditors seek to thrash out compromise on measures before Eurogroup

Gov’t, creditors seek to thrash out compromise on measures before Eurogroup

Government officials and representatives of Greece's international creditors are continuing negotiations on the terms of the country's third bailout this week, from afar, with the aim of covering as much ground as possible ahead of an extraordinary meeting of eurozone finance ministers to take place in Brussels on May 9.

It is unlikely that a conclusive agreement will be reached next Monday, government officials admit, and it is possible that another Eurogroup summit will be called to thrash out the final details.

On Tuesday the European Commission's statistics service, Eurostat, is to publish its predictions for 2016 and 2017 while on Wednesday it is deemed likely that Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem will meet with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos and the latter's German and French counterparts, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Michel Sapin respectively, to lay the groundwork for next Monday's Eurogroup.

The key sticking point in the talks are the contingency measures, worth some 3.6 billion euros, that the International Monetary Fund wants Greece to commit to taking in 2018 if it misses budget targets. Government sources insist that Athens will not legislate a list of specific contingency measures from now, as the IMF wants.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations indicate that creditors will not accept Greece's pledge to introduce an automatic mechanism for cutting state spending, insisting that Athens offer details of specific budget savings it plans to make. The same sources indicate that a compromise might be reached if Athens points to the type of budget cuts it intends to make without specifying the amounts from now.

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