Monday, May 11, 2015

Greece pays IMF loan installment, negotiating on Greece's situation continues

John Psaropoulos writes about the current Greek negotiations in Syriza’s mysterious deal New Athenian 05/11/2015. Alexis Tispras' government is working on a new package of proposed reforms to sell to "its main creditors, the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund."

Tsipras is also holding up the prospect of putting the package to a referendum vote if Angela Merkel and her junior partners in the deal - the rest of the eurozone countries, in other words - agree to it. Angie doesn't like this referendum stuff. It's seems unlikely that she would be happy about that idea. But her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is saying he likes the idea! (Christoph Pauly, Euro-Gruppe verhandelt mit Griechenland: Was auf dem Tisch liegt, reicht nicht Spiegel Online 11.05.2015)

Psaropoulos gives a good summary of the stubborn resistance Greece has faced since February:

The rubric agreed on February 20 with creditors was that Greece would sign a partial agreement by the end of April, which would build confidence towards a final deal in June.

But talks have dragged on past deadline. An omnibus bill of agreed measures the government was to have made public on April 30 has remained under wraps. The government in Athens now says it is confident of a deal in May, without specifying whether it will be interim or final.

[Official spokesperson Gavriil] Sakellaridis did not seem to believe that Monday’s Eurogroup would be definitive. “We want this Eurogroup to acknowledge the important progress marked so far in the Brussels Group,” he said, referring to the technical teams of negotiators on the two sides. However, he said a $750mn debt instalment to the IMF on Tuesday will not be held hostage to that demand.

The lack of such acknowledgment hounded Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis at the last Eurogroup meeting in Riga, Latvia on April 24. Finance ministers were so critical of Greece’s apparent lack of progress in talks that Varoufakis left without attending a post-conference dinner. “We see that this process… is leading nowhere,” he said afterwards. Varoufakis maintains that Greece had given technical teams a “hot text” full of proposals, but until there was agreement at the technical level, Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem refused to distribute the proposals to ministers. [my emphasis]
Greece just paid the amount due on its IMF loans. (756 Millionen Euro an den IWF: Griechenland überweist Schuldenrate Spiegel Online 11.05.2015) But the tightrope walk continues.

Renee Maltezou and Robin Emmott report in Germany floats Greek referendum on reform, others doubt timing Reuters 05/11/2015:

EU paymaster Germany suggested on Monday that Greece might need a referendum to approve painful economic reforms on which its creditors are insisting, but Athens said it had no such plan for now and others warned a vote could delay vital aid.

Greece calmed immediate fears of a default by making a crucial 750 million euro payment to the International Monetary Fund a day early. But Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the liquidity situation was "terribly urgent" and a deal to release further funds was needed in the next couple of weeks.

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