Greece expects bailout deal within two weeks

Greece foresees bailout deal with creditors being concluded by August 18, as Greek stock markets continue to plummet after five weeks of shutdown

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Greece expects to conclude a bailout deal with its international lenders by August 18, with the drafting of the agreement starting on Wednesday, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Tuesday.

"The first phase of negotiations ends today and the second phase starts, which really contains the details of drafting [the deal]," Gerovasili told Skai TV station.

The drafting of the accord would start on Wednesday, she said.

"If the terms of the (EU) summit are met, I think that we will have a deal by the 18th of this month," she said.

Greece's finance and economy ministers were due to meet international lenders later on Tuesday to discuss privatisations and bank recapitalisation.

In an interview with Ethnos newspaper on Monday, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici described an August deal as possible, but said it would be "ambitious," suggesting that it would take hard work to achieve it.

The bailout, worth up to €86 billion ($94.42 billion), needs to be settled by Aug. 20 if Greece is to pay off €3.5 billion of debt to the European Central Bank that matures that day.

When Greece's creditors agreed in July to negotiate a deal aimed at keeping the country afloat and in the eurozone the Greek government committed to implementing major reforms, such as scrapping early retirement, by the end of October.

Lenders want an increase in Greece's retirement age to 67 from the current nominal retirement age of 62 that can fall significantly depending on number of years worked and family status.

On Monday Greece and its lenders agreed that any pension reforms would not affect individuals who retired before the end of June 2015. Talks on Tuesday concerned issues related to the recapitalisation of banks and privatisation.

"We are determined to pursue a deal, and be tough in negotiations until the last minute," Gerovasili said.