Greece withdraws from negotiations in Brussels

Greece withdraws from negotiations in Brussels

Athens, June 15, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

The meeting of the Greek delegation with the Institutions ended in just 45 minutes

The Commission announced that the talks in Brussels ended without reaching an agreement

Greek government: We withdrew because lenders were not ready for an agreement

Juncker’s representative: We have time until the end of the month to reach an agreement

European Commission: We expect a positive move until Thursday

The Greek issue will likely be raised again at the Eurogroup Thursday

By Spiros Sideris

The long-awaited meeting of the envoy of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras with representatives of the Institutions in Brussels resulted in a grand stalemate, raising once again the tensions in the negotiations between Greece and its lenders.

Just 45 minutes lasted the meeting of the Deputy Prime Minister, Giannis Dragasakis, Minister of State Nikos Pappas and Deputy Foreign Minister Euclidis Tsakalotos, with representatives of the lenders, in the presence of the head of the European office of the IMF Paul Thomsen.

The representative of the European Commission announced that EUR 2 billion separate the two sides and told the Greek government that he expects a positive move by Thursday’s meeting of the Eurogroup.

While pressures are increasing and time is running out, the representative of Jean Claude Juncker wanted to send a message of calmness, saying that at the moment there is a stalemate, but there is time for an agreement by the end of the month! However, according to head the Financial Times in Brussels, Peter Spiegel, the Greek issue will be discussed at the crucial Eurogroup of June 18.

According to reports, the IMF did not take a single step back from its demands for reductions equal to 1% of the GDP, ie EUR 1.8 billion, in salaries and pensions, nor for revenues of EUR 1.8 billion from VAT. It seems, however, that this time the lenders were “united” and without differences between them.

This made the Greek side withdraw from the discussions. According to sources from Maximos Mansion, cited by Mega television, the Greek side has withdrawn from the negotiations “because lenders were not ready for an agreement”.

Earlier, via a non paper, the government had stressed, in reply to European sources and publications, that it had submitted its proposals since June 1, in addition to two processed texts relating to debt sustainability and the fiscal gap, while the envoy of the Greek Prime Minister had delivered since Saturday to the institutions the additional proposals that cover the fiscal gap and primary surpluses.

The government spoke of “proposals, which pave the way for the final agreement that will cover the three pillars – fiscal, financial and developmental”, and made it clear that “it will never accept any reduction in pensions and wages, or increases, through VAT, to essentials, such as electricity, and no recessionary measures.

Dragasakis: There was no response on the part of the institutions

The Greek Deputy Prime Minister, Giannis Dragasakis, said after the fruitless conclusion of the negotiations that the Greek side has submitted a complete dossier of proposals.

“The Greek delegation, which is in Brussels since Saturday, delivered today (Sunday) to institution, as was agreed, additional proposals that cover the fiscal gap and primary surpluses. Proposals pave the way for the final agreement covering the three pillars -fiscal, financial and development.

The proposals of the Greek government fully cover the fiscal gap as specified by the representatives of institutions. But there remains a persistence to cover this gap exclusively through pension cuts by 1% of the GDP and of a VAT increase, also by 1% of the GDP.

Despite the presence of the Greek delegation in Brussels there was no response from the side of institutions for discussions at that level and those authorizations, which would help to resolve the issues that remain open.

The delegation of the Greek government remains ready to conclude negotiations and achieving a mutually beneficial agreement”.