Greece says accord possible if pensions not cut

As talks between Greece and its international creditors continue, Athens softens its tone and accepts to make compromises except pension cuts

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

After Greece dismissed the latest proposal from the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) as "absurd" last week, it has surprised its creditors by adopting a more conciliatory tone and showing willingness to compromise in the recent days.

"I think we're very close to an agreement on the primary surplus for the next few years," said Tsipras in an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera. "There just needs to be a positive attitude on alternative proposals to cuts to pensions or the imposition of recessionary measures," repeating comments he made over recent days.

Tsipras’ comments came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank (ECB) officials have warned Greece that time is running out for the country to reach a reform-for-aid deal to keep the country in the euro. Speaking after a summit of the Group of Seven, consisting of  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Merkel said she wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone, however stressed that there was “not much time left.”

Greek Prime Minister is due to meet Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday in efforts to break the gridlock that has increased concerns Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone.

However, in his interview with the Italian daily, Tsipras said Greece leaving the eurozone would be “the beginning of the end” for the monetary union. “If Greece fails, the markets will immediately go to look for the next one. If negotiations fail, the cost for European taxpayers would be enormous,” he said, implying his confidence that Greece’s creditors will pull back.

Meanwhile, the World bank warned against the contagion risk of Greece leaving the eurozone.

"You think that the market has already calculated the impact of a problem in Greece but you never know, so I would urge everyone at the table to come do as much as they can to come to an agreement that is good for Greece, is good for Europe and will of course be good for the world,"  said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on Tuesday.

TRTWorld and agencies