Greek negotiators seek bailout deal

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Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Greek negotiators are exploring the “scope for convergence” with the country’s international creditors in Brussels.

The move come following days of acrimony over rival reform proposals for a deal to unlock Greece’s last remaining bailout funds.

Government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis also sought to douse talk of elections, saying it was not something the government was considering. Some ministers had raised the issue as an option if a solution to the protracted bailout talks cannot be found.

Talks between Greece and its creditors have been deadlocked since late last week, when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rejected as unacceptable a proposal made by the three institutions overseeing his country’s bailout – the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Commission.

A solution is needed by June 30, when Greece’s bailout programme ends and the remaining 7.2 billion euro (£5.3bn) in rescue loans will no longer be available.

Without the funds, Greece is unlikely to be able to repay its debts and could end up crashing out of Europe’s joint currency.

Jitters over Greece swelled last week when the government decided to delay a payment due last Friday to the IMF. Instead, it opted to bundle all four IMF repayments due this month into one on June 30.

Allowed under IMF rules, the option has been used only once, by Zambia in the 1980s.

Greece and its creditors disagree on a number of issues, such as pensions and labour reforms.

Though Mr Sakellaridis reiterated Greece considers its proposal – a 47-page document delivered by Mr Tsipras during a visit to Brussels last week – to be the basis for a deal, he said there was room for negotiation.

“The Greek negotiating team that has gone to Brussels is evidently there so as to see the scope for convergence so there can be a mutually acceptable solution to both sides,” Mr Sakellaridis said.

Mr Tsipras, in an angry speech in Parliament on Friday, had described the institutions’ proposals as an “unpleasant surprise,” saying they ignored progress in negotiations over the past few months.

The rejection sparked the ire of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whose approach to Greece has been viewed as more lenient than those of the IMF, ECB and Germany, which is the largest single eurozone contributor to Greece’s bailout.

Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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