Wed, Jun 03, 2015 - Page 15 News List

‘Serious progress’ made in Greece debt crisis talks

CASH FOR REFORMS:Greek Minister of Labor Panos Skourletis said there remained no more room for compromise and called on international leaders to assume responsibility

AFP, PARIS

There has been “serious progress” in talks over Greece’s debt crisis, but much still needs to be achieved, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Pierre Moscovici said yesterday.

There is still “work to be done,” Moscovici told French radio after emergency negotiations in Berlin that were joined unexpectedly by the heads of the IMF and the European Central Bank.

The late-night meeting in the German capital was also attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The aim was to come up with “a final proposal” to present to Athens, according to German daily Die Welt.

IN ‘CLOSE CONTACT’

However, Merkel’s office after the meeting said only that the quintet agreed to work together “intensely” in the coming days and would stay in “close contact.”

“The discussions are starting to bear fruit,” Moscovici said. “There is a solid basis to progress, but we’re not there yet... There are efforts to be made on both sides to get there.”

He said that he “ardently wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone,” but that “time is pressing.”

The nation faces a key deadline on Friday, when it is due to repay 300 million euros (US$328.5 million) to the IMF.

There are fears that Greece does not have the necessary funds and might default, possibly setting off a chain of events that could end with a messy exit from the euro.

Greek Minister of Labor Panos Skourletis yesterday said its government can make no more concessions in negotiations for a cash-for-reforms deal and its international lenders must take responsibility for their role in the talks.

‘POLITICAL’ SOLUTION

“There is no room for more compromises. We are waiting for the other side to assume its responsibilities,” Skourletis told Greece’s Skai TV, adding that it was now time for a “political” solution to the crisis.

Asked whether Athens would accept a “take it or leave it” deal, Nikos Filis, the parliamentary spokesman of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ ruling SYRIZA party, reiterated that the government could not sign an agreement that was incompatible with its anti-austerity program.

“If we’re talking about an ultimatum ... which is not within the framework of the popular mandate, it is obvious that the government cannot co-sign and accept it,” Filis told Antenna TV.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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