Tuesday 21 November 2017

Deadline looms as Greek cash running out

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund .
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund .

Leah Rossario

Eurozone deputy finance ministers want an agreement on a €7.2bn loan to Greece in time for a Eurogroup meeting next Monday.

Last week Greece fulfilled its immediate financial commitments, but the situation is becoming rather desperate. There is precious little cash left in the national coffers, and if the government fails to procure further funding soon, it will be in trouble. There are salaries and pensions to pay, and more debt repayments looming. EU officials are also turning the screw by saying there are only days left in which to reach agreement on a new package of reforms to the Greek economy.

Only if eurozone finance ministers are satisfied with the Greek plan when they meet later this month will more money be released. On his visit to Moscow last week, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he still hoped for an honourable compromise.

But his radical left-wing government is ideologically opposed to many of the policies that its eurozone partners have endorsed -which is one of the reasons why it is proving so difficult to strike a deal. And Greece is feeling the squeeze.

Last night Athens dismissed media reports that the government was considering calling early elections.

"Once again, election scenarios have surfaced. The best answer to those is the popular mandate the government enjoys," a Greek government official said.

"We continue to seek a mutually beneficial solution (with our lenders), respecting the people's mandate," the official added.

Irish Independent

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