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Sunday 21 January 2018

Tsipras pushes timescale on German debt deal

Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras
Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras

Eleni Chrepa

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has urged an acceleration of talks with the country's creditors to strike a deal by the end of this month during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Tsipras made the request to Mrs Merkel at a one-hour meeting on the sidelines of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels yesterday, according to a Greek government official.

The meeting was held in a "very good climate," the official said. Greece and its creditors have found common ground on the target for the country's primary budget surplus being set at 1.5pc of the economy's output for 2015, the official said, adding that they are converging on the 2016 target.

The sides are understood to be moving closer on a number of issues. Failure to reach a deal would be viewed in Greece as a political event and could lead to snap elections or a referendum. Such scenarios are viewed as being hypothetical and not part of the government agenda, the official said.

Greece and its creditors have not discussed having the country miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or a default because agreement over bailout disbursements remains beyond reach.

Talks shift to Riga, Latvia, today where euro-area finance ministers will attempt to persuade Greece to commit to economic reforms so that aid payments can be released before the country runs out of money.

Irish Independent

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