Athens sees deal close but Ber­lin re­mains skep­ti­cal

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Talks be­tween the Greek gov­ern­ment and its lenders’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives are due to con­tinue in Athens to­day amid a di­ver­gence of opin­ion within the eu­ro­zone about whether there can be an agree­ment in the next few days, leav­ing enough time for Greece to re­ceive fund­ing by Au­gust 20.

“We are pro­gress­ing nor­mally in the ne­go­ti­a­tions with the lenders,” said Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Yian­nis Dra­gasakis af­ter a cab­i­net meet­ing. “From our side, we are al­most ready. There are some is­sues that are be­ing ex­am­ined but they are not ob­sta­cles.”

Greece is ex­pected to re­ceive a draft of the agree­ment on the coun­try’s third bailout and there are hopes that the fi­nal ver­sion can be voted through Par­lia­ment by Thurs­day, al­low­ing enough time for other eu­ro­zone par­lia­ments to ap­prove it and for funds to be dis­bursed be­fore Athens has to re­deem a 3.2bil­lion-euro bond held by the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank on Au­gust 20.

Mem­bers of the EU’s Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Com­mit­tee (EFC) were due to con­fer last night on the progress in the talks.

Ger­many is re­port­edly skep­ti­cal about whether a swift set­tle­ment can be reached. The Sued­deutsche Zeitung news­pa­per said the Ger­man Fi­nance Min­istry fa­vors another bridge loan to give Greece and its cred­i­tors time to ne­go­ti­ate a com­pre­hen­sive re­form pro­gram. The min­istry says a range of is­sues re­main to be set­tled, “es­pe­cially around fu­ture con­di­tion­al­ity,” in­clud­ing macroe­co­nomic and bud­get tar­gets.

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