Greece, creditors to kick off fiscal talks in Athens: official
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday will meet with OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria in Paris, followed by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament president Martin Schulz in Brussels on Friday. AP PhotoGreece and its international creditors were to begin fiscal talks in Athens on March 12, a government source said, breaking a six-week impasse over attempts to overhaul the country's unpopular bailout.
"Talks are scheduled to begin on fiscal issues today," a finance ministry source told AFP, adding that discussions on structural reforms and banks would be held next week.
Technical experts from Greece and creditor representatives launched parallel discussions in Brussels on Wednesday.
The breakthrough came after six weeks of difficult talks between the EU-IMF-ECB creditors and the radical Greek government that came to power in January with the promise to tear up the country's austerity-driven bailout.
The new government's aggressive stance quickly alienated Greece's creditors, who want the new government to respect the terms of the 240-billion-euro ($255-billion) bailout signed by its predecessors.
With many promised reforms still incomplete, Athens has received no money from the remaining bailout funds, and the state is now desperate for cash.
This month alone, Greece must find some 6.0 billion euros to meet its debts -- including 1.5 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund.
On Wednesday, Athens snapped up 1.3 billion euros offered by creditors in a new issue of three-month treasury bills, but at a higher interest rate of 2.7 percent.
Reports Wednesday said the government was turning to its pension and agricultural assistance funds for emergency cash to pay government salaries.
On Monday, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem blamed Greece for wasting precious time.
"We have spent two weeks discussing who meets who, where and in what format, and it's a complete waste of time," said Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch finance minister.
Athens has insisted on dismantling the previous system of EU-IMF-ECB fiscal audits, conducted by a team of experts from the three institutions known as the 'troika'.
The Greek government now calls the creditors 'institutions'.
In a new search for allies, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Thursday will meet with OECD secretary-general Angel Gurria in Paris, followed by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Parliament president Martin Schulz in Brussels on Friday.