Greece falls short in efforts to secure deal with creditors
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 6:20
Germany has led several eurozone governments that have dragged their heels on tackling the debt mountain over the long term, insisting on more reforms before doing Athens further favours. The country is in dire need of bailout cash to meet debt repayment of more than Euro 7 billion due in July, or risk default. "Now it's our partners and lenders who have a moral, political and legal duty to meet theirs", spokesman for the Greek government Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told reporters.
On Thursday, the Greek parliament voted in favor of a new batch of severe austerity reforms to secure the next tranche of foreign lenders' money.
The spectre of the Greek bailout crisis simply refuses to die, but poor government borrowing figures from the United Kingdom have today pushed the Pound down -0.2% to 1.1545.
An unconditional debt relief promise is hard to swallow for Germany, which faces elections in September, and several other countries, which all want to retain some leverage over the Greek government to make sure it delivers on all the promised reforms until 2018.
Agreement on debt was not possible because the International Monetary Fund wants the euro zone to give more detail to a declaration from May 2016 in which the ministers describe some of the actions they could take, if necessary, to keep down Greek gross financing needs.
He said negotiators agreed that Greece's primary surplus - before interest payments - should remain at 3.5 percent of the Greek gross domestic product for five years after the end of the bailout programme in 2018.
"We believe that in the coming weeks we will have the opportunity to work hard toward covering those gaps and reaching a desirable solution", he said.
The deadlock on the debt issue prevented an agreement on the so-called second review of the bailout programme despite Greece having met the creditors' requirements.
Its creditors in the eurozone also said they would offer the prospect of debt relief if the country meets its side of the bargain.
"The feeling was at the end of the meeting that more work was needed to get the clarity that Greek people and markets would need to understand", Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on his way out of the meeting. He said Monday that Greece still has a few actions to undertake while the institutions overseeing the country's bailout still have to make some checks.
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron said he backed debt relief for Greece in a phone call on Monday with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The IMF has raised doubts about Greece's ability to maintain such an optimistic budget performance for decades, while key creditors have been pushing for a more positive outlook.