EU ministers to discuss, IMF, Greek debt

EU ministers to discuss, IMF, Greek debt

Finance ministers of core European Union countries are expected to meet later this week in Berlin to discuss the possible concessions Brussels could offer to secure the participation of the International Monetary Fund in Greece’s third international bailout, paving the way for debt talks.

Government officials suggest that the IMF, which has yet to decide whether to join Greece’s third bailout, is to blame for the slow process of talks between Greece and its creditors.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos acknowledged that the differences between Greece and its creditors remain too great for an agreement on all prior actions to be reached by the December 5 Eurogroup meeting and said that Athens was aiming for a political agreement by that time.

There is enough time until December 5 for agreements to be reached in talks on labor laws, fiscal issues and the overhaul of the Greek energy sector, Tzanakopoulos said, noting that the government has shown the political will necessary to achieve a breakthrough by the deadline.

However, he said, this political will does not include “a willingness for new austerity measures and concessions on matters of principle such as labor rights.”

Elaborating, government sources said authorities will not retract their demands for the restoration of collective labor contracts.

If all differences have not been bridged by December 5, Greece’s creditors should issue a political decision and make good on their pledge to launch talks on debt relief, Tzanakopoulos said.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to repeat this message when he addresses SYRIZA MPs on Wednesday.

SYRIZA on Tuesday backed the government’s attempts to restore collective labor contracts and called on other parties to support the demand.

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