Greece made a crucial payment to the International Monetary Fund on 9 April and won extra emergency lending for its banks on Thursday but it remained unclear whether Athens can satisfy skeptical creditors on economic reforms before it runs out of money.
Euro zone partners gave Greece six working days to improve a package of proposed reforms in time for finance ministers of the currency bloc to consider whether to release more funds to keep the country afloat when they meet on April 24.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced that Athens was resuming the sale of state assets halted when the new government was elected in January, but would do so on different terms.
He did not specify which tenders would go ahead and said the government wanted public-private joint ventures with a minimum investment commitment required from bidders, and the state retaining a stake to generate pension funds.
A government official confirmed Greece had transferred the 450 million euro loan repayment to the IMF, reassuring financial markets after earlier doubts about whether it had money to redeem the debt and pay wages and pensions.
EU officials said the Greek delegate made an urgent plea for cash at a meeting of deputy finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday evening but was told there must first be progress on a stalled list of measures to make public finances sustainable.
“From the Greek side there was a strong statement that liquidity is getting really bad and there was an appeal to release some type of liquidity support before the euro zone finance ministers’ meeting on April 24,” a euro zone aide said.
“But no one knows how this could be done — there is no willingness to provide support before there is some progress in terms of the reform program,” the official said.
Revised reforms not good enough for Europe
“Tragically we find ourselves today in a similar situation,” he told an economic conference. “As a finance minister … in order to create the liquidity which is necessary to see these negotiations through hopefully to a sustainable solution, I have to make the same request that we are allowed to issue T-bills over and above a certain limit to create the liquidity necessary to see us through to the end of the month or the next month or June, so as to be able to redeem payments to the former troika — to the IMF in this case.”
A secret memorandum drafted by the finance ministry of Finland, one of the most hardline creditor countries, raised the prospect of Greece effectively being pushed out of the euro zone if it fails to meet obligations under its 240 billion euro bailout program.
That could lead to a situation where “by silent approval of the other euro zone countries a process is started which in effect results in Greece being expelled from the euro”, it said. The finance ministry was not available for comment.
“It is impossible to build European security without Russia, let alone against it,” Tsipras told students. “In this context, we must … restart the EU-Russia dialogue in order to address global challenges, energy cooperation and to promote mobility among citizens.”
Source : Reuters