Greek Reform Talks Stall Once Again

ATHENS – Missing another self-imposed deadline April 10, Greece’s coalition government’s hopes to finish reform talks with international lenders have been set back again.

Labor Minister Giorgos Katrougalos and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos resumed negotiations with envoys from the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) with little hope yet of reaching agreement.

Release of monies from a third bailout of 86 billion euros ($98 billion) have been held up for eight months as Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is holding out against more pension cuts even as he backtracked on virtually every other campaign promise.

European officials told Kathimerini that Greece won’t receive an installment until June at the soonest, just ahead of a batch of other repayments due the Quartet the next month.But that won’t happen until a consensus is reached between the parties that would have to happen imminently.

Tsipras wants the talks done fast and a deal by Easter on May 1, by which time he hoped to have debt relief talks at the IMF’s annual Spring Meeting in Washington on April 15-17.

Despite rosy releases from the government there’s no evidence any substantial progress has been made while the country’s economy continues to deteriorate and as tax revenues lag and debts grow.

The IMF has backed debt relief for Greece, but only by the other creditors and wants to be paid in full under any condition.