Greece's creditors deny a split as Monday deal hopes fade

 
Chris Papadopoullos
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Jeroen Dijsselbloem met French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in Paris yesterday
Greece's creditors yesterday hit back at claims they were obstructing negotiations with the cash-strapped country, while officials cast doubt on an agreement being reached at a meeting of finance ministers on Monday.

The Greek finance ministry also denied reports it was about to tax bank transactions or wealthy families to alleviate its fiscal position.

“The European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) share the same objective of helping Greece achieve financial stability and growth,” Greece’s three main creditors – formerly known as the troika, now referred to as the institutions – said in a statement.

It came after a Greek government non-paper said that creditors were contradictory in their demands. The IMF also confirmed it had received a €200m (£150m) payment due from Greece. German Finance minister Wolfgang Schauble also defended the position of the creditors.

“Neither the troika, nor Europe, nor Germany can be blamed for Greece’s problems,” he said yesterday. “Greece lived beyond its means for many years.”

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup, the group of Eurozone finance ministers, dashed already slim hopes that Greece would receive funding in time for a €750m payment to the IMF on 12 May.

“I’m getting some positive reports from the talks in Brussels. Still, lots of issues have to be solved, have to be deepened more, with more details, so there will be no agreements on Monday. We have to be realistic,” he told an audience in Paris. With progress stalling, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has taken a more active role. He met with EC president Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday to discuss pension and labour market reforms – areas the Greeks had previously labelled “red lines” that they would not cross.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the finance ministry told City A.M. it was not about to impose a tax on cash transactions to prevent outflows from its banks, and also played down reports that it would hike taxes on Greece’s richest households.

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