Leftist Greek govt again rushes to close review; creditors point to new austerity measures worth 2% of GDP

10 February 2017
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Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos will travel to Brussels on Friday for a previously unscheduled meeting with the heads of the country’s creditors – what the leftist government calls the “institutions” – in order to break the ongoing impasse in efforts to finally conclude the second review of the current bailout.

Late-night reports out of Athens said Tsakalotos will meet separately with Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem; EU Commissioner for economic affairs Pierre Moscovici; ESM managing director Klaus Regling; ECB executive board member Benoit Coeuré and IMF European department director Poul Thomsen.

Creditors’ representatives will also meet together, reportedly without Tsakalotos.

Earlier, according to Bloomberg, creditors will propose to Athens that it enact a package of new austerity measures worth 2 percent of current GDP, roughly 3.6 billion euros, measures that will be implemented in case fiscal targets fall short after 2018.

Speaking from London, Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis again referred to the obvious, namely, the need to find a solution quickly in order to conclude the second review.

Houliarakis shunned the Thursday session of the EWG in Brussels and instead addressed an event at the London School of Economics (LSE), sending an adviser in his place. The development essentially foreshadowed the prospect of no or little progress on the Greek issue at the EWG session.

A statement carried by the state-run television network had Houliarakis saying that “it was best to find even a bad solution now, rather than a better one (solution) in five months.” He added that the main difference between creditors over the Greek bailout program is how much debt relief German and European partners are willing to concede for Athens.

Bloomberg added that creditors are expected to present their latest proposal in a matter of days, if not on Friday, as a Feb. 20 Eurogroup meeting looms on the horizon, which is viewed as an unofficial deadline by which to conclude the program ahead of a handful of elections in major European countries this year.

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