Over 75 percent of Greeks want deal with lenders

While more than three-quarters of Greeks feel Athens must strike a deal at any cost to stay in euro, Greece’s government signals biggest concessions so far as talks with lenders starts on Thursday

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his three month old Syriza government is under hefty pressure both at home and abroad to reach an agreement with its lenders. An enlarged team of Greek negotiators began talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and the so-called Brussels Group, who are representing the eurozone. The talks aim to determine which reforms Greece will adopt in exchange for aid to avert a default.

According to a top government official, Athens was willing to sell a majority stake in its two biggest ports, commute on tax rates and some pension reforms. This has been interpreted as the clearest sign from the government so far, which was showing that it is ready to strike a deal.  

Although Greece’s government signalled concession with lenders on a cash-for-reforms package, the government is also trying to assure its leftist supporters that it had not abandoned its anti-austerity principles. However, a new poll showed over 70 percent of Greeks want Athens to strike a deal at any cost to stay in the eurozone.

Greece wants an interim deal by next week and hope that this will allow the ECB to ease its liquidity restrictions prior to the €750 million payment to the IMF falls due on May 12. Athens has already stated that it will struggle to pay the instalment. Before that, the country also has to repay €200 million to the IMF by May 6.  

However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the head of the Eurogroup, said that the bloc was prepared for any outcome, signalling that the possibility of “Grexit” is not ruled out. Dijsselbloem was asked whether there was a “plan B” should Greece default or exit the single currency union, he said the eurozone is prepared for eventualities.

TRTWorld and agencies