A planned meeting between the leaders of Germany, France, and Greece on Wednesday was in doubt as Greece’s reform proposals to unlock new funding to ward off a debt default fell well short, European Union officials said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras were to have met on the fringes of a summit of EU leaders and heads of state and government of Latin American countries in Brussels, to clinch a political agreement on technical proposals submitted earlier by Greece.
An agreement on a set of reforms that Greece would implement in exchange for new loans would save the country from bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro.
But the meeting looked doubtful on Tuesday evening as new proposals presented by Greece to the institutions representing the creditors were seen as insufficient and no new talks with Greek representatives were scheduled for Tuesday.
“If there is no movement, there is no meeting,” one EU official said. “Germany and France don’t see the point of a meeting for now,” the official said.
Greece submitted late on Monday to the institutions representing its creditors a proposal on fiscal targets but did not address in them how it would arrive at them. The primary surplus targets in the Greek paper were also marginally below those requested by the creditors, officials said.
Athens also sent in a document on debt restructuring, which the creditors dismissed as irrelevant now, because Greek debt sustainability could only be discussed once it implements reforms promised in exchange for aid it has already received.
Reforms that would ensure reaching the discussed fiscal goals have been the main point of negotiations between Greece and the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank which represent Athens’ creditors.
After a meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Tsipras on June 3, the Commission requested a revised proposal from Greece that would explain how it wanted to reach fiscal targets in an alternative way, given it rejected measures on pensions and Value Added Tax proposed by the lenders. Greece promised it by last Thursday.
But the proposal arrived only late on Monday night and the creditors said that it lacked answers to the concerns they expressed last week.
While more talks between Athens and the institutions could take place on Wednesday, the creditors say it is now impossible to disburse the reminder of the money available to Greece under the existing bailout — 7.2 billion euros — without a formal extension of the bailout beyond its June 30 expiry date.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Mark Heinrich)