Government kicks into high gear ahead of May 9 Eurogroup

Government kicks into high gear ahead of May 9 Eurogroup

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday was expected to hold back-to-back meetings with key cabinet members as he hopes to reach an agreement with creditors that will wrap up the pending bailout review ahead of a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on May 9.

The meetings at his office at the Maximos Mansion in Athens are aimed at strengthening Greece’s negotiating position in talks with international creditors that have reached a stalemate.

The key sticking point are 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.

Representatives of the European Commission, IMF, European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism were also said to be in contact over the Greek Easter break to discuss how progress can be made on the contingency measures, as well as on debt relief.

Sources have suggested that there may be a meeting called by the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, between Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, his German and French counterparts, and representatives of the lenders before the end of the week, though this has not been confirmed by any side.

On Monday, Reuters reported that no deal is likely at the special Eurogroup on May 9, according to two sources close to the talks.

“We’re making slow progress,” one of the sources was quoted as said. “I wouldn’t expect a final agreement at the May 9 meeting. That’s too soon. There are some weeks to go after that.”

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