EUROZONE finance ministers are gearing up for a fourth day of talks in a week on Greece’s debt crisis tomorrow as the country failed to bridge impasses with its creditors yesterday.
If no deal is reached by Tuesday, Greece risks going into default.
Athens is now under increasing pressure to accept reform proposals put forward by its creditors – the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission – that involve cutting pensions, raising VAT and holding back on taxing company profits.
“We agreed that they will do an assessment of the last Greek proposals, because they came in very late today, just before the Eurogroup meeting,” said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers.
“The institutions [creditors] informed us that on a number of issues there is still a wide gap with the Greek authorities. In the meantime, the door is still open for the Greek authorities to accept the proposals tabled by the institutions.”
“The Eurogroup will probably reconvene on Saturday to take stock of the situation.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras remained defiant, saying he expected a deal.
“So after the comprehensive Greek proposals, I am confident that we will reach a compromise that will help the Eurozone and Greece to overcome the crisis,” Tsipras said.
Experts have said that, for a deal to be wrapped up by Tuesday, reforms need to be submitted to Greek parliament by Sunday morning at the latest.
“Even if he [Tsipras] submits it to Parliament under an emergency procedure, two days of debate are needed before MPs can vote on it,” said analysts from Greek think tank Macropolis.
“If Monday night is the absolute latest that Greek parliament can decide – thus allowing German parliament to approve the deal on Tuesday, before the programme deadline is reached – then Tsipras will have to submit the draft legislation by no later than Sunday morning.”