Greek deal closer, euro zone finance ministers to meet May 9

JAN STRUPCZEWSKI & FRANCESCO GUARASCIO
 

Greece and its international lenders are close to a deal on a package of bailout reforms and are working to agree further contingency steps by May 9 when an extraordinary meeting of euro zone finance ministers will be held in Brussels, EU officials said on Thursday.

Talks between Greece and its lenders have almost reached a conclusion on reforms agreed within the current bailout program, while more negotiations are needed on further contingency measures that Athens must commit to in exchange for debt relief negotiations.

“We are 99 percent of the way there, we have converged on almost all aspects,” European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici said on Thursday on the original reform package, which includes a pension and income tax reform, a way to deal with bad loans and setting up a privatization fund.

“As for the contingency mechanism, which in our view is not really justified by data but politically necessary, let’s work on that,” he added.

The work is expected to be concluded by May 9 when euro zone finance ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss progress on Greece.

There will be an “additional eurogroup on Greece on Monday 9 May at 3 p.m. in Brussels,” the spokesman of euro zone finance ministers’ chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said late on Thursday in a tweet.

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