Eurozone finance ministers will convene in Brussels on May 9 to confer on economic reforms, a meeting that could decide Greece’s fate.
Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is under crushing pressure to make a deal with the country’s international lenders before huge loan repayments are due in July and as his coalition government is raiding schools and hospitals for cash to stay afloat.
EU officials rejected his call for an emergency summit over the stalled talks around a third bailout of 86 billion euros ($97.3) that was agreed in July, 2105 to let envoys from the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-IMF-ECB-ESM) work it out with the Greek team.
“We are 99 percent of the way there, we have converged on almost all aspects,” European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said, Kathimerini reported, of the original deal said to include more pension cuts Tsipras vowed to reject, as well as let banks go after bad loan debtors who can’t pay because of austerity measures imposed by successive governments, including the SYRIZA-led Administration.
The stumbling blocks includes contingency austerity measures, more of which would kick in if the country fails to meet fiscal targets, as it has consistently since the crisis began when former Premier and then PASOK Socialist leader George Papandreou asked for the first bailout almost six years ago.
“As for the contingency mechanism, which in our view is not really justified by data but politically necessary, let’s work on that,” Mosocovici added.