Greek talks reach tech­ni­cal, not po­lit­i­cal, deal: EU

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

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.

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