Stalemate over contingency measures as Hollande hopes for deal on Monday

5 May 2016
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A stalemate between the government and Greece’s creditors over a set of contingency measures that the International Monetary Fund wants Athens to legislate remained unresolved on Wednesday as neither side made concessions.

Meanwhile French President Francois Hollande is hoping for a deal at next Monday’s Eurogroup summit, sources in his office were quoted as saying, even though the unofficial consensus is that an agreement will take longer to reach.

The IMF is intent that Greece should legislate contingency measures worth 3.6 billion euros which would have to be implemented if budget targets for 2018 are missed.

Those measures come on top of a package of 5.4 billion euros in reforms that Greece must implement as part of its third bailout.

On Wednesday, officials said hopes for an agreement at Monday’s summit were low but that a deal would likely be reached “in the next few weeks.”

According to an official statement regarding the May 9 Eurogroup, talks will focus on “a comprehensive package of policy reforms as well as the sustainability of Greece’s public debt.” It is the first time Greece’s debt is on the agenda of a Eurogroup meeting.

Greek officials insisted on Wednesday that Athens will not legislate contingency measures. “We have made it clear that for procedural and substantive reasons, this cannot be done,” Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Vitsas said.

According to government sources, several European officials back Greece’s counterproposal for the activation of an automatic system for cutting state spending if budget targets are missed.

However, Germany is said to be behind the IMF which wants the contingency measures legislated.

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