European institutions and the International Monetary Fund have agreed between themselves to present a common stance towards Greece in talks on the bailout program review, Reuters says. Talks between Greece and lenders have stalled since mid-December as Athens disagreed with certain reforms proposed. At the same time, there were differences between European creditors and the IMF regarding Greek debt relief measures and fiscal targets set.
“There is agreement to present a united front to the Greeks,” a senior euro zone official said.According to the Reuters report, the official added that the outcome of today’s meeting with the Greeks was still unclear and it was unclear if Athens would accept the proposals. “What comes out of it, we will see,” he said..Financial markets reacted immediately to the news, with Greece’s two-year bond yield falling almost 50 basis points to 9.55%. On Thursday, the bonds had reached the 10% mark.
Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that in the meeting between creditors and Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos later on Friday the size of Greece’s primary surplus will be discussed.
The euro zone wants Greece to reach a primary surplus — which excludes interest repayments on debt — of 3.5% of gross domestic product and keep it in the long run.
However, the IMF believes that Greece can only reach 1.5% next year and in the following years and has therefore been pushing for Athens to legislate new measures that would safeguard the agreed euro zone targets.
Officials told Reuters that the lenders would ask Greece to take 1.8 billion euros worth of new measures until 2018 and another 1.8 billion after 2018, focused on broadening the tax base and on pension cuts.