Thursday 22 March 2018

Greeks post new plan to creditors

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Nikos Chrysoloras and Christos Ziotis

Greece submitted fresh proposals to its creditors in a bid to unlock bailout funds with just three weeks to go before the country's financial safety net expires.

Two documents were handed to European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici to supplement plans set out last week, a Greek official said yesterday. The papers address concerns about Greece's budget targets and include a proposal to ensure the sustainability of Greek debt, said the official, who asked not to be named in line with policy.

"We have received new proposals and we are examining them with diligence and care," European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said at a press conference in Brussels.

Almost four months after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed an extension of Greece's rescue agreement, no new funds have been disbursed and the standoff between creditors and the anti-austerity coalition in Athens risks leaving Europe's most-indebted state unable to meet debt payments.

After a series of manoeuvres allowed Greece to stay afloat while shut off from both capital markets and official funding, the end of this month may be the end of the line unless Tsipras accepts the conditions on financial aid. The bailout deal is set to expire as about €1.5bn of International Monetary Fund payments come due.

The Greek proposals consist of two three-page documents, one international official said. They include a request for funds from the European Stability Mechanism to repay about €6.7bn of bonds held by the European Central Bank that come due in July and August.

The revised Greek plan is a rehash of earlier proposals and is still not considered credible, the international official said.

A delegation headed by the Greek Minister of State Nikos Pappas and Deputy Foreign Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is in Brussels negotiating with officials from the euro area and the IMF over the conditions attached to Greece's emergency loans.

Greece last week rejected measures proposed by creditor institutions, while creditors rebuffed a separate plan put forward by Greece.

Under the latest Greek plan, Prime Minister Tsipras wants access to bailout funds left in the European Financial Stability Facility and for the country's banks to be allowed to buy more of the state's short-term debt, the international official said.

Irish Independent

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