Wary of brinkmanship, euro zone steers away from new deadlines for Greece, official says

Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:12am EDT
 
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By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers will not set any deadline for Greece to come up with reforms to get more funding because such time limits lead to brinkmanship in negotiations, a senior euro zone official said on Tuesday.

Greece, which is quickly running out of cash, pledged to its euro zone partners in February that by the end of April it would agree with creditors on a comprehensive list of reforms to get 7.2 billion euros remaining from its bailout.

Euro zone officials had expected the list to be presented to euro zone finance ministers this Friday in Riga. This would allow for a faster disbursement of cash to Athens, helping the debt-laden country avoid default on loan repayments on May 12.

But no package will be ready by then and it is also unlikely it will be ready by the end of the month. This is mainly because in the past weeks Greece has not been providing the creditors with the financial data they seek or saying clearly what reforms it plans.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a European Union summit on migration on Thursday and the two are expected to discuss the funding crisis.

Speaking in Vienna, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged Greece to step up efforts to strike a deal with its, warning that talks were not advanced enough to find a quick solution.

A senior euro zone official involved in the talks said there had been some improvement in negotiations very recently, but not enough for a deal.

"There is a clear pick up in activity, there is a clear pick up in engagement, but we are a significant way away from a signal that a result is in sight," the official said.   Continued...

 
People walk past the headquarters building of Bank of Greece in Athens April 21, 2015.   REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis