Debt negotiations with EU, IMF made progress: Greek government

Greek government says negotiations with debt lenders over reforms to unlock Athens’ bailout are about to produce a preliminary deal in May

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Athens and its lenders from the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) made a remarkable headway in negotiations which aimed to solve Athens’ remaining bailout crisis, a Greek government official said on Sunday.

"There were very important steps made at the Brussels Group (talks) which bring an agreement nearer," according to Reuters, citing a Greek official , declining to be named.

"All sides aim for an agreement at a Brussels Group level within May,"said the official.

The newly-elected Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his three months Syriza government have been underpressured both inside and outside since Greece has been grappled with an overwhelming debt crisis in the recent years.

Tsipras’ Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has started to negotiate the country’s debt crisis immediately after the left-wing Syriza Party came to power at the end of February.  

Athens is heavily indebted to  to the EU and the IMF, almost 240 billion euros, since the Eurozone economic crisis seriously hit the country from 2009 to the present.

Before the general election, Tsipras’ Syriza Party had vowed to terminate the EU’s unilateral financial acts over Greece, but in reality the Syriza Party has so far continued to review Greece’s financial stability in order to get new loan money from the Union.

The EU however entails the maintenance of financial-economic reforms if the Syriza government in Greece wants to get more funds from the EU creditors.

Talks between the parties have slowed down as Tsipras-Varoufakis leadership was resisted to cut money in pensions and labour reforms that would clash with the pre-election Syriza campaign pledges to end austerity.

An unnamed official from Eurozone also said that there were some convergence between Athens and the Western debt negotiators, but some sticking points were still needed to be clarified in the days to come meetings.

Greece and representatives of its creditors from the European Central Bank and the IMF are expected to have resumed next week in order to reach a framework agreement in May according to Greek authorities.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in a private telephone conversation last weekend, agreeing to keep in touch until Athens and its lenders reach an ultimate debt deal.

TRTWorld and agencies