GREECE says it aims to clinch a deal with its creditors by Sunday, a development that would allow it to receive the desperately needed final installment of its international bailout plan and avoid a default.
But the optimism was dampened by the creditors, who warned that an agreement remained elusive. Without one, Greece has no money to meet debt repayments as soon as next week. A default could eventually cause it to drop out of the euro, disturbing European and global markets.
“Talks will continue in the coming days, and further progress is needed,” said Annika Breidthardt, a spokeswoman for the European Commission. “We’re not there yet. There are open issues which need to be resolved.”
The Commission is one of the three institutions Athens is negotiating, with along with the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The Greek side insisted its optimism was “not idle talk”.
“It is based on very specific facts,” government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said yesterday. “We are going into these negotiations with the aim to have an agreement with our partners by Sunday.”
“We believe conditions are now ripe for an agreement to be reached,” he added.
A day earlier, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had said a deal was near, and Greek officials said the text of an agreement was being written up.
Greece’s new government, elected in January, has been in talks for four months on what reforms it should make to get the final bailout installment of €7.2 billion euros from fellow eurozone states and the IMF.