Greek government officials appeared optimistic on Monday night that an agreement with creditors is possible within the next ten days, while the U.S. watches closely negotiations with European institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Greek government spokesperson Gavriil Sakellaridis said he believes a deal could be reached “soon.” The deal would have to be secured in the coming days so it can go through Parliament and gain approval for the release of further financial aid.
However, international creditors insist that a deal is not as close as Athens believes. Deliberations between the Brussels Group and the Greek team resumed on Tuesday, May 26, with IMF’s Olivier Blanchard saying on Monday that Greece’s budget proposals are not “credible” and very far from achieving the targeted primary surplus.
There are still four points in which both sides do not appear to agree, namely budgetary issues, pension and labor law reforms, and value added tax rates, with labor and pension reforms being the so-called “red lines” the Greek government has pledged not to cross.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met on Monday with government Vice President Yiannis Dragasakis, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping and Tourism Minister George Stathakis and Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations Euclid Tsakalotos. The Greek PM stressed the need to expedite negotiations on a technical level so that Athens secures an emergency Eurogroup on June 2.
U.S. watches closely developments in negotiations
According to a U.S. Treasury spokesperson readout, “U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew spoke by phone with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Secretary Lew noted that the Treasury Department continues to monitor the evolving situation in Greece closely. Secretary Lew also emphasized that the Treasury remains engaged with all parties involved – including Greece, its European partners, and the IMF – and continues to urge all parties to find common ground and reach an agreement quickly. Secretary Lew reiterated that failure to agree on a path forward would create immediate hardship for Greece and broad uncertainties for Europe and the global economy. Secretary Lew offered to remain in contact with the Prime Minister and other parties in Europe and the international financial institutions.”