ATHENS, Greece, Feb 28 – Greece was back at the negotiating table with the EU and the IMF on Tuesday to secure a deal to keep crucial bailout funds flowing for its crisis-battered economy.
Talks between Greek officials and representatives from its creditors aimed at freeing up fresh funds resumed in Athens on Tuesday morning, the Greek finance ministry said.
Following a long standoff between the EU and the International Monetary Fund over debt relief and budget targets for Greece, the impasse was finally broken in Brussels last week in a compromise described as “honourable” by Athens.
The Europeans have been at loggerheads with the IMF over the Washington-based lender’s demands for easier budget targets and for Athens’ mountain of debt to be reduced.
The IMF insists that budget targets demanded of Greece by the Europeans are too ambitious.
But if the eurozone is going to stick with its plans, then the IMF has demanded what it sees as the necessary tax hikes and pension cuts to meet them before it will lend further to Athens.
The deadlock has spooked markets with fears of a return to the crisis two years ago when Greece nearly crashed out of the euro, the European single currency.
Athens needs the latest tranche of bailout cash to meet seven billion euros of new debt payments in July or risk defaulting on its loans.