Greek talks reach technical, not political, deal: EU
The European Commission said Tuesday that Greece has reached a technical agreement "in principle" with its international creditors on a third debt bailout which now requires political approval.
"What we have at the moment is a technical level agreement... and small details need to be finalised. What we don't have is a political agreement," Commission spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said.
Earlier Tuesday, Greek officials in Athens announced an accord following lengthy talks on a new bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion) over three years to allow Athens time to get the economy back on track and stabilise its strained public finances.
In return, Greece must accept more austerity measures, including painful tax hikes, spending cuts and reforms to modernise the economy.
"An agreement was reached," a Greek government source told AFP in Athens, while Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters: "We are very close... There are a couple of very small details remaining on prior actions."
Breidthardt stressed several times that the announced accord was technical and would now have to be discussed at the political level before final approval.
"European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has been in close contact with the (negotiating) teams on the ground," she said.
"He also had phone conversations yesterday with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and he will speak today to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande."
"As for the political assessment ... we expect a phone call of the (EU) Economic and Financial Committee to take place early this afternoon for all member states to take stock," she added. The EFC groups all 28 member states and is tasked with coordinating economic policy across the bloc.
Breidthardt declined to give any details of the technical agreement and what areas still needed to be discussed. "As long are negotiations are ongoing and no political agreement is reached, we will not comment on the details of any agreement," she said.
Greece and its creditors -the EU, the European Central Bank, the eurozone bailout fund and the International Monetary Fund -- are hoping to finalise the deal by August 20 when Athens must repay some 3.4 billion euros to the ECB. Juncker told AFP last week that if no agreement is reached by then, Brussels would likely provide another bridging loan for Greece, as it did last month for a July 20 ECB payment.