Greece set to meet €200m IMF payment but refuses to cross “red lines” on reform
Greece will make its near €1bn payments due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this month, officials insist, yet the country remains at loggerheads with its creditors over fiscal forecasts and labor reforms just days before the European Central Bank's (ECB) next decision on emergency aid.
The country's labour minister Panos Skourletis told local TV stations that the country will meet the €200m (£161.9m) payment to the IMF on Wednesday and the further €770m due on May 12, but admitted the two parties were far from an agreement on a number of key issues with the ECB's decision to release important financial aid looming.
Greece, whose government was elected on promises of anti-austerity measures, is arguing that the IMF is demanding it crosses a number of "red lines" on reforms such as cutting pensions and halting plans to raise the minimum wage. Last week European investor sentiment picked up amid news of progress in talks.
Labour minister Panos Skourletis told Greece television network Mega:
The country has chosen to pay its obligations and reach an agreement (with lenders). We are trying to have the money…
…They (IMF) are asking us to not touch anything that have ruined Greek people's lives in the last five years.
In order to avoid the risk of financial meltdown, Greece desperately needs the ECB to loosen liquidity controls on Wednesday and release €7.2bn in financial aid to help the country meet future debt payments.
Yet progress in the negotiations between Greece and its creditors have been slow to reach any agreement. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is under pressure both at home and in Europe to demonstrate willingness to reach a compromise by talks on Wednesday.