Greece and its lenders said they were optimistic they could broker a deal within days on a multibillion-euro bailout, Reuters reported.
A bailout worth up to 86 billion euros (US$94.5 billion) must be settled by Aug. 20 — or a second bridge loan agreed — if Greece is to pay off debt of 3.5 billion euros to the European Central Bank that matures on that day, the news agency said.
Wrapping up a day of talks in Athens on Tuesday, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said negotiations were going better than expected. In Brussels, a Commission official said they were “encouraged” by progress.
“We are moving in the right direction and intense work is continuing,” Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told Reuters.
It will be the indebted nation’s third bailout since 2010, designed to stave off bankruptcy and keep the country from toppling out of the eurozone.
Negotiations have been tortuous in the past, bogged down in minutiae of reforms ranging from pensions to shop opening hours.
Over much of this year they were also peppered with angry outbursts about responsibility, sovereignty and even blackmail.
However, sources on the creditors’ side briefed on negotiations described the Greeks as being “very, very cooperative” in talks which resumed in the last week of July after weeks of deadlock over bailout terms.
“They [the Greeks] are really working now,” one euro zone official said. “I think [Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras has told his ministers to cooperate.”
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