Greek debt deadline: Mario Draghi urges Greece to hurry as default looms

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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Draghi says “much more work is needed” before a bailout deal can be done with Greece
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi has said the Greek government needs to do more work and do it urgently to conclude a deal on extra bailout cash.

“More work, much more work is needed now and it’s urgent,” he said at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

“We all want Greece to succeed. The answer is in the hands of the Greek government.”

Greece’s new government – who were elected to end the country’s programme of austerity and reforms – are at loggerheads with the rest of the Eurozone, who want the country to commit to continuing the programme before extra bailout cash is disbursed.

Greece faces two hefty payments to the IMF on 1 and 12 May, together totalling nearly €1bn (£720m), which it risks defaulting on if bailout cash is granted by then.

The next opportunity to reach an agreement is this Friday when Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Riga, but some officials are pessimistic on an agreement being reached at the meeting.

“Nothing has changed,” French finance minister Michel Sapin told reporters at the meetings in Washington. “We’re in the same situation at the end of these meetings as at the beginning.”

His statements echoed those of German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble who last week said a deal this Friday was unlikely.

Only one comment from the spring meetings went in Greece’s favour. Draghi said that Greek banks’ demand for emergency lending would continue to be met so long as they had adequate collateral – which they currently have. But a Greek debt default could change this.

When questioned on the possibility of a Greek default, Draghi said: “I don’t want to even contemplate such an event...the Greek leaders repeatedly state that they want to honor all their obligations.”

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