Date
20 October 2017
Talks between Greece and its international lenders have been painfully slow as the leftist-led government is resisting cuts in pensions and labor reforms that would clash with its campaign pledges to end austerity. Photo: Reuters
Talks between Greece and its international lenders have been painfully slow as the leftist-led government is resisting cuts in pensions and labor reforms that would clash with its campaign pledges to end austerity. Photo: Reuters

Greece cites bailout talks progress, aims for May deal

Talks between Greece and its international lenders over reforms to unlock further bailout aid are gaining headway and an agreement could be closer this month.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s three-month-old government is under growing pressure at home and abroad to reach an agreement with European and International Monetary Fund lenders over reforms to avert a national bankruptcy.

Talks have been painfully slow as the leftist-led government is resisting cuts in pensions and labor reforms that would clash with its campaign pledges to end austerity, Reuters said.

“There were very important steps made at the Brussels Group [talks] which bring an agreement nearer,” the wire agency quoted a government official who declined to be named as saying.

“All sides aim for an agreement at a Brussels Group level within May.”

The talks between technical teams from Athens and the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are expected to resume on Monday, the official said after the country’s chief negotiators met with Tsipras.

A euro zone official also said there was convergence on some issues but sticking points remained and that talks were expected to continue through Wednesday.

Athens hopes that a successful conclusion of the negotiations at the so-called Brussels Group could lead to recognition of the progress by the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers and bring some liquidity relief.

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RA/CG

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