Talks on the review of Greek reforms needed to get more bailout
money have dragged on for months partly because the
International Monetary Fund and European Union institutions
cannot agree between themselves on some assumptions and
scenarios of how the Greek economy might develop.
A spokeswoman for the Greek government said a preliminary deal
can be reached this week before a regular meeting of euro zone
finance ministers (Eurogroup) in Amsterdam on April 22, but the
Commission avoided setting a clear date for an agreement.
"Following constructive talks in Washington, the mission chiefs
are returning to Athens today and tomorrow. The aim of the
mission remains to conclude the first review of the program as
soon as possible," a Commission spokesman told a news conference
International lenders and the Greek authorities were in contact
last week in Washington during the IMF's meetings.
The Eurogroup meeting this week "will be an important moment to
take stock of progress made," the Commission's spokesman said,
declining to say when an agreement was likely to be reached.
Euro zone lenders and the IMF are divided on some targets set
out in the latest Greek bailout, notably a primary surplus goal
of 3.5 percent of GDP for 2018 and beyond. The IMF says it is
unrealistic to expect Greece to keep such a surplus for decades.
"The budgetary targets fixed last summer for the period after
2018 must be respected," the Commission spokesman said.
The Greek spokeswoman said the government would submit to
parliament in the coming days bills on pension and tax reform.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; additional reporting by Renee
Maltezou in Athens; editing by Philip Blenkinsop/Jeremy Gaunt)
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