Finance Minister to plan tactics ahead of bailout negotiations


With representatives of Greece’s international creditors due to return to Athens next week for the resumption of bailout negotiations, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is expected to confer with government officials over the weekend to decide on what strategy Athens will follow in the talks.

According to sources, Tsakalotos briefed SYRIZA’s political secretariat on the outcome of Monday’s Eurogroup summit on his return to Athens from Brussels and is this weekend expected to examine a series of scenarios with the different measures that Greece could include in its proposal to bailout inspectors.

According to sources, Tsakalotos has been annoyed by the lack of unconditional support from other government officials and is determined to ensure that the political cost for the measures he is negotiating with bailout inspectors does not burden him exclusively.

According to sources in Brussels, the toughest challenge in the coming weeks will not be confirming the measures that Greece must legislate for enforcement from 2019 but agreeing on primary surplus targets and finalizing the medium-term measures for debt relief.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras described the Eurogroup deal as an “exceptional success.” He said it showed that Greece’s insistence that it can no longer bear any further austerity has been accepted by the country’s creditors. “I am fully convinced we achieved an honorable compromise,” Tsipras said, adding that all sides at the eurozone finance ministers’ meeting in Brussels had agreed for the “first time after seven years… to leave the path of continued austerity behind us.”

Following what appeared to be a productive meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde in Berlin on Wednesday, there is a greater sense of certainty that the IMF will participate in Greece’s third international bailout. However, a decision on the Fund’s role is not likely to be taken until a Eurogroup summit scheduled for May, according to sources.