Greek aid talks fail to agree plan

LAST-DITCH talks to prevent Greece from running out of money will drag on into next week after international leaders again failed to strike a firm deal with politicians in Athens.

The markets are today expected to take a dim view of the delay, created when a two-hour conference call between officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos ended last night without a formal resolution.

The troika said merely that “good progress” had been made and that it will return to Greece early next week.

Athens said there would also be a chance for discussions at the annual meeting of the IMF in Washington this weekend and stated its confidence Greece would clinch the release of the €8bn (£6.96bn) aid tranche that it needs by next month.

The last-ditch talks are the second time in three months that Greece has brought the Eurozone to the brink of disaster. In July the troika threatened to withhold its fifth tranche of aid unless ministers showed more determination to meet deficit-reduction targets, but eventually gave in as markets veered towards a panic.

Meanwhile, Germany’s governing coalition has drawn up a draft bill to authorise Greece’s second bailout package, which will cost around €109bn.