Athens, May 6, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Zacharias Petrou
Hopes of a deal between the Greek government and the country’s creditors were raised Wednesday following positive statements from both sides.
European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke on the phone and later issued a joint statement which read:
They took stock of progress made in the talks between Greece and its partners over the last days on a comprehensive set of reforms to achieve a successful completion of the review. They notably discussed the importance of reforms to modernize the pension system so that it is fair, fiscally sustainable and effective in averting old-age poverty. They also discussed the need for wage developments and labor market institutions to be supportive of job creation, competitiveness and social cohesion. In this context, they concurred on the role of a modern and effective collective bargaining system, which should be developed through broad consultation and meet the highest European standards. Constructive talks should continue within the Brussels Group.
Labor market and pension reforms demanded by the creditors were seen – and are still considered – stumbling blocks. However, observers believe efforts to break the impasse with a target to reach a deal by the next Eurogroup meeting intensified significantly.
Athens is fast running out of money to both pay its creditors and finance everyday domestic affairs, raising the risk of a default.
The General Composite Index of the Athens Stock Exchange ended higher after the close on Wednesday on hope that a deal would unlock sorely-needed bailout funds.
Alexis Tsipras also spoke on the telephone with French President Francois Holland. The discussion was held in a very positive climate and both sides expressed their intention to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Later, a Joint statement by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund was released which read:
The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund share the same objective of helping Greece achieve financial stability and growth.
The institutions continue to work closely together toward that goal.
All three institutions are working hard to achieve concrete progress on May 11.