There could be light at the end of the tunnel for Greece after talks in Brussels ended with Prime Minsiter Alexis Tsipras calling the summit "positive". Greece, he said, can now proceed with talks to get EU funding as soon as possible.
That funding will be forthcoming only if the country's creditors agree with the list of reforms the country must produce soon. There was however a hint of more flexibility, with Greece's new leftist government allowed to present its own reforms, rather than the recession measures agreed upon by the previous executive. What is more, €2bn (£1.4bn) in unused EU development funds was offered by Jean-Claude Juncker to help ordinary Greeks suffering after five years of crippling austerity.
Tsipras said the fifth review of Greece's bailout will no longer take place, adding that any reforms will be orchestrated itself. The meeting involved a number of key personnel; Tsipras, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Jean-Claude Juncker, Mario Draghi, Donald Tusk and Jeroen Dijsselbloem.
Here is a list of the main points from the press conference:
- The 20 February agreement is still valid, according to Merkel. The agreement was that Greece would push through reforms, in exchange for EU cash
- Recession measures are over, however, according to Tsipras: Greece will organise its own reforms
- There is no short-term problem with liquidity in the Greek economy
- Greece has identified €2bn in owed taxes, of which €800m is "accessible"
- The Greek government is aiming for a primary surplus of 1 – 1.5 per cent this year
- Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is not an obstacle in negotiations, Tsipras said
Greek news sources reported Tsipras came under pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, They were frustrated with what they saw as "slowing tactics" from Greece, and wanted firm commitments on reforms, including privatisations.