The Guardian — Talks with the quartet of creditors, which includes the ECB, the International Monetary Fund, the European commission and Europe’s bailout fund, the European stability mechanism, are continuing, and Tsipras has suggested they are “in the final stretch”.
However, it remains unclear whether the prime minister, who was only able to pass the latest package of austerity measures with the help of opposition MPs, will be able to win the backing of his radical Syriza party for new reforms, at a special conference due to be held next month.
The IMF has made clear that it will refuse to commit any new funds until Greece has signed up to a new economic reform programme, and eurozone countries have made a concrete offer to write off part of the country’s debt burden.
Sweden’s representative on the 24-member IMF board, Thomas Östros, said there was strong support for a new Greek rescue, “but it will take time”.
He told Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter: “There is going to be a discussion during the summer and autumn and then the board will make a decision during the autumn.”
He also noted that Greece must adopt wide-ranging reforms first. “They have an inefficient public sector, corruption is a relatively big problem and the pension system is more expensive than other countries.”
Despite the grim news on the public finances, Greek stock markets bounced back yesterday, after three straight days of decline, with the main Athens index closing up 3.65%.
In a separate piece of more optimistic news, official figures showed that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in three years – though it remains at a historic high of 25%.