Greece is seeking to conclude talks on a rescue program by Tuesday as an Aug. 20 deadline looms for a debt payment to the European Central Bank (ECB).
The ECB, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Stability Mechanism, the country’s major creditors, made progress over the weekend on the details of a plan that would make as much as 86 billion euros (US$93 billion) available to Greece, according Bloomberg which cites three people familiar with the discussions.
Officials are optimistic an agreement will be reached, allowing the Greek parliament to pass any new required reforms in the middle of the week.
Greece needs a quick release of about 20 billion euros to create a buffer for its banks and to make loan payments.
“We are trying to make swift progress in order to have a deal preferably before the 20th of August so the disbursement can be made under the new ESM program,” European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters on Friday in Brussels.
Greece and its creditors still need to decide exactly how much money will be required for the bailout, which will be the nation’s third in five years, as well as what reforms will have to be concluded before any money is released, one of the people said.
The headway comes as some members of the 19-nation common currency express skepticism that a deal can work.
Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said over the weekend that his government is ready to discuss a new aid plan for Greece but that “we should admit that this isn’t going to work”.
Last week, Hans Michelbach, a Bavarian lawmaker who has argued against a deal with Greece, said he didn’t believe a rescue program could be reached in time and other financing arrangements would be needed.
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