Euro zone finance ministers will not be setting any deadlines for Greece because they lead to brinkmanship in negotiations on what reforms Athens needs to do in exchange for more funding, a senior euro zone official said on Tuesday.
Greece, which is quickly running out of cash, and the euro zone agreed in February that by the end of April Athens would agree with its euro zone creditors on a comprehensive list of reforms to get 7.2 billion euros remaining from its bailout.
Euro zone officials had expected the list to be presented to euro zone finance ministers this Friday in Riga.
But no package will be ready by then and it is also unlikely it would be ready by the end of the month, mainly because in the past weeks Greece has not been providing the creditors with financial data or saying clearly what reforms it wants.
“There is a clear pick up in activity, there is a clear pick up in engagement, but we are a significant way away from a signal that a result is in sight,” the euro zone official said.
“There is still another week to go (after the meeting of ministers in Riga), so the (first) deadline (set in February) is not yet missed,” the official said.
“However, if you want to present some kind of comprehensive agreement to the authorities and the institutions, analyze it, send it to the Euro Working Group to work on it, which then filters out the political questions for the Eurogroup to debate, it will be extremely difficult to keep the deadline of April 30,” he said.
“There is one deadline now, which is the end of June. The Greek authorities are aware, we hope, when the program ends,” the official said referring to the end of the extended bailout.
“They can work backwards, reverse engineer as good as everybody else, so they know what needs to be done by then,” he said. “That is exactly thee feeling that many ministers have.”
As the use of deadlines leads to certain brinkmanship and unnecessary excitement, it will not be done again,” he said.