Stalled ne­go­ti­a­tions on bailout fuel de­bate

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis clashed in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day in a de­bate that was in­tended to fo­cus on crime but dealt pri­mar­ily with Greece’s stalled bailout ne­go­ti­a­tions. Mean­while, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel ap­peared to have un­der­taken an ef­fort to bridge dif­fer­ences be­tween Ber­lin and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund over the best way to deal with Greece.

Ac­cord­ing to daily Die Welt, Merkel spoke with IMF chief Chris­tine La­garde and de­ter­mined that the Fund will par­tic­i­pate in Greece’s third bailout after all. Der Spiegel went fur­ther, re­port­ing that the Fund would con­trib­ute 5 bil­lion eu­ros to the third bailout, sig­nif­i­cantly less than had been ini­tially ex­pected. Merkel and La­garde are ex­pected to meet on Wed­nes­day for talks that will likely fo­cus on Greece. Spec­u­la­tion about the meet­ing was keener yes­ter­day than that re­lated to Mon- day’s Eurogroup, where Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials do not ex­pect any de­ci­sions on Greece’s bailout. At most, of­fi­cials had hoped for a de­ci­sion on when bailout mon­i­tors might re­turn to Athens, but that goal also seemed out of reach yes­ter­day. Sources in­di­cated that en­voys will likely re­turn to Athens at the end of next week or early the fol­low­ing one.

In Par­lia­ment mean­while, Tsipras and Mit­so­takis blamed each other for the dead­lock. Tsipras called on the ND leader to take a po­si­tion on the “ir­ra­tional” de­mands for ad­di­tional aus­ter­ity be­ing made by Greece’s cred­i­tors, in­ti­mat­ing that Mit­so­takis was iden­ti­fy­ing with the IMF by not dis­tin­guish­ing his stance.

The con­ser­va­tive party leader, for his part, lashed out at Tsipras for the im­passe, claim­ing that Greece’s cred­i­tors are only de­mand­ing ad­di­tional aus­ter­ity from Athens be­cause of the left-led ad­min­is­tra­tion’s foot­drag­ging.

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