الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

EU bailout team in Athens for talks

The Greek parliament is seen behind a flag during an anti-austerity rally in Athens, Greece 22 July 2015.

It is the first time high-level international negotiations have taken place in Athens since Syriza came to power

European negotiators have arrived in Athens to begin discussions about a third Greek bailout.

Government officials are expected to meet representatives of EU creditors, in the first high-level negotiations in the Greek capital since leftist Alexis Tsipras became prime minister.

It comes after Greek MPs approved tough new conditions set by the EU lenders.

It is unclear when representatives of the IMF will join the talks on the proposed €86bn (£60bn) bailout.

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund wants Greece’s debt burden to be reduced to a level it considers “sustainable”, but it faces resistance from reluctant European partners.

“Clearly it’s a difficult path ahead, we’re just at the beginning of the process,” IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said.

Greek negotiators are likely to begin by meeting representatives from the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the eurozone’s main bailout fund.

Talks on the bailout package are expected to last a month.

Tight capital controls, introduced at the end of June, remain in place to prevent a run on Greece’s cash-strapped banks.

‘Difficult compromise’

PM Tsipras faced a backlash from MPs in his own left-wing Syriza party, during two parliamentary votes on austerity measures required by the creditors in order for negotiations to start.

But he secured parliament’s backing after a second crucial vote passed early on Thursday.

The reforms debated this week included changes to Greek banking and an overhaul of the judiciary.

Greece debt crisis


PM Tsipras has so far survived a challenge from MPs in his party as Syriza appears to prioritise reaching a deal

Last week, Greece passed an initial set of austerity measures, including tax rises and pushing back the retirement age.

Mr Tsipras has said that he is not happy with the measures imposed by creditors but that his government was forced to choose a “difficult compromise” to avoid Greece exiting the eurozone.

A decision on more contentious measures – phasing out early retirement and tax rises for farmers – has been pushed back to August.

Demonstrations have taken place on the streets of Athens against the bailout deal and trade unions have taken strike action.

On Wednesday, the ECB increased its cash lifeline to Greek banks by €900m – the second rise in a week.

The IMF confirmed on Monday that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of €2.05bn and was no longer in arrears.

The repayments, which included €4.2bn to the ECB, were made possible by a short-term EU loan of €7.16bn.

Greece’s next major deadline is 20 August, when it must pay €3.2bn owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of €1.5bn to the IMF in September.

شاهد أيضاً

COPTIC SOLIDARITY LAUNCHES URGENT CALL TO END CRIME OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF COPTIC WOMEN IN EGYPT

A Coptic woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, …