No deal in Greece-creditor talks as debt deadline nears

PM Tsipras is trying to quell opposition from within his own party as the talks continue ahead of Friday's IMF payment.

    Athens insists it has provided a viable alternative to the lenders' proposals [AP]
    Athens insists it has provided a viable alternative to the lenders' proposals [AP]

    Legislators oppose further austerity policies

    Creditors demand more cost-cutting measures

    PM Tsipras blames lenders for stalemate

    EU Commissioner says deal is still possible

    Greece's cash-strapped government has failed to deliver on a promise to reach an agreement with rescue lenders over the weekend.

    With a debt repayment looming on Friday that Greece cannot afford, the government is trying to quell an internal squabble as it continues talks with the creditors.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is still struggling to reach a deal with bailout creditors to get more bailout loans, without which it cannot afford debt repayments it owes the International Money Fund this month, starting on Friday.

    However, Tsipras faces opposition from within his own party to any agreement with creditors that would extend budget austerity measures that creditors have been demanding.

    Last month, more than a third of the ruling party's 201-member central committee voted to skip the next IMF payments and prepare for a potential euro-exit that was rejected by a narrow majority.

    Meanwhile, Germany's EU Commissioner Guenter Oettinger said on Monday that it might still be possible for Greece and its creditors to reach a deal this week.

    "We will need progress at the working group level, in order that we can agree on a reform agenda, perhaps even by the end of the week, which would trigger the payment of the last tranche of aid from the current aid programme," Oettinger told Die Welt newspaper in an interview.

    Greece's bailout lenders, other eurozone states and the IMF, argue that more cost-cutting measures are needed to make the Greek economy more sustainable. The reforms include higher overall sales taxes, a new tough round of pension reforms, and further cuts in job protection regulations.

    Greece blames creditors

    Athens insists it has provided a viable alternative to the lenders' proposals, with commitments to raising sales tax income, slashing early retirements, and by imposing new taxes on high company profits and Internet gambling.

    However, a promise by the government to reach a conclusion by Sunday failed to materialise.

    "The lack of an agreement so far is not due to the supposed intransigent, uncompromising and incomprehensible Greek stance," Tsipras wrote in a column published by French newspaper Le Monde.

    "It is due to the insistence of certain institutional actors on submitting absurd proposals and displaying a total indifference to the recent democratic choice of the Greek people."

    On the same day, Tsipras held a 35-minute call French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the Greek debt crisis.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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