EU dismisses Greek government’s statement on debt deal

Officials from EU say Greek government’s statement on debt deal being drafted ‘wishful thinking’ and quickly dismiss such claims

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Greek government on Wednesday said it was close to seal a final agreement in the country’s long-standing debt negotiations, but European officials immediately denied the Greek side’s claims as being “wishful thinking” and stated that there were still ways yet to go with Athens.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday said his government was close to seal a final agreement with its international creditors which have been giving bailout money since 2010.

"We have taken very many steps. We are in the home stretch, close to the final agreement," Tsipras told reporters, after a meeting at the finance ministry in Athens.

"I believe that very soon we will be able to present new information," he added.

But officials from the EU objected Tsipras’ remarks as they perceived such statements as Greek government’s wishful thinking.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis stated that Greece and its lenders still have some issues to be finalised before talking a comprehensive final agreement.

"We are working very intensively to ensure a staff-level agreement," he said. "We are still not there yet," Dombrovskis said.

Greece’s left-wing Syriza Party could have so far not agreed on a number of issues, such as debt restructuring, a lower target for the primary surplus to take in more than it spends apart from debt interest payments, and a pledge to make no further cuts to pensions or wages.

All of those issues were said to be Athen’s red lines which the Greek side seemed reluctant not to abandon during the several months of debt negotiations.

Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble seems one of the most pessimists among the EU officials as he said on Wednesday that there was not much progress in the Greek debt talks and expressed his surprise on the upbeat tone of the Greek government.

"One is hearing all this positive news coming from Greece, that's nice," Schaeuble said according to an ARD television interview on Wednesday.

"But on the substance, we haven't got much further in the negotiations between the three institutions and the Greek government...That is why I'm surprised about what is said in Athens all the time, namely that we were very close to an agreement." he added.

Greece has been negotiating with its creditors over the past four months about the release of some 7.2 billion euros in aid.

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

The country’s financial leadership led-by Yanis Varoufakis denounced last week that Greece will not be able to fulfill its repayment to the IMF on the scheduled deadline on June 6.

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 bailout money from the Union.

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

TRTWorld and agencies