Dubai: Greece hopes for a fair and honest agreement with its creditors the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank from the ongoing discussions on a debt deal in Brussels, said Greece’s alternate Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura.
Kountoura, from Independent Greeks party (ANEL) a coalition partner of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Syriza-led government believes that the discussions in Brussels will lead to an agreement that is acceptable to all parties.
“Without bringing in any politics into the current negotiations, I believe there is scope for a just and honest agreement. I still see our country as very much part of the European Union and Euro our currency and do not see anything changing that,” Kountoura.
Reports suggest a deal between Greece and its international lenders over reforms is apparently “close,” but differences over the detail and questions over whether they can be reconciled remain.
Greece, now on the brink of default, owes €1.5 billion (Dh6.2 billion) to the IMF this month; another €452 million to the IMF and €3.5 billion to the European Central Bank next month; and a further €176 million to the IMF and €3.2 billion to the ECB in August. Without a deal with the rest of the Eurozone to release €7.2 billion in the remaining funds from its bailout agreement, Athens will be forced to default. It has no other source of money. Its access to markets remain virtually closed.
Hopes of an agreement between Greece and its lenders such as the EU, the IMF and the ECB were raised on Thursday after the lenders appeared to be ready to compromise, offering Greece room for manoeuvrer on certain aspects of its bailout programme.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras travelled to Brussels to meet with the Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, and discuss the ongoing impasse between the two sides over reforms and the future of Greece’s bailout. Reports emerging from Brussels suggest a common ground over lowering the primary budget surplus requirement for Greece was found although, differences remained over some pension and taxation changes.
European authorities are negotiating on the basis of three principles: first, staying in the euro requires further economic adjustment by Greece; second, additional support must be conditional and third, external oversight is required to ensure compliance with those conditions. Yet the Greek government was elected on a promise to stay in the Eurozone but without austerity, adjustment or external oversight.
One of the problems for the creditors and European governments is that if Greece gets away with too much in its negotiations it will pave way for more radical political demands from other peripheral states.