Greece looking at further talks with lenders

By Magda Panoutsopoulou

ATHENS (AA) – Talks between Greece and its international lenders will resume on May 9.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was informed on Thursday night by Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem that the Eurogroup will meet next week.

Greece and its lenders are close to a deal but further contingency measures are on the table.

European finance ministers were to meet on Thursday in order to close the deal with Athens regarding debt relief, but the meeting was canceled due to inadequate progress.

The contingency measures requested by eurozone finance ministers in addition to the reform package that Athens has already agreed, is to provide two percent of GDP savings.

However, the Greek side argues that its laws do not allow passing such a measure.

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici told state-run Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Thursday that regarding the original reform package – which includes tax and pension reforms, non-performing loans plus a privatization fund: “We are 99 percent of the way there, we have converged on almost all aspects.”

Regarding the contingency measures, Moscovici said that they deserved to be looked at.

According to ANA-MPA, European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, reassured Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday evening saying he will take initiatives so that a Eurogroup meeting is held soon and would include talks on debt relief.

According to information from ANMPA, the Greek premier’s request for a European Council meeting remains at the table as a safety measure in case the Eurogroup meeting does not produce any results. In this case, a summit will be called for May 14 or 15.