EU says no Troika debt deal yet on Greece
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse
EPA photoThe European Commission denied today that a deal had been reached between international creditors and the Greek government on its debt bailout programme but expressed confidence agreement would be reached, AFP reported.
"We are continuously narrowing the number of open issues," Simon O'Connor, spokesman for the EU's euro commissioner Olli Rehn, said moments before the scheduled start of a conference call of eurozone finance ministers and a day after Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had announced agreement.
O'Connor said Brussels was "confident" of striking an accord "soon." On Tuesday, Samaras said that a deal had been reached.
"We concluded the negotiation on the measures and the budget," Samaras said in a statement, referring to talks with the so-called 'troika' of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the EU.
Asked if the eurozone finance ministers conference call was proceeding as planned, O'Connor said it was.
Samaras has warned that Greece will run out of cash next month unless it can secure the release of a more than 31-billion-euro ($40-billion) loan payment that has been stalled since June.
The EU-IMF financial assistance package depends on progress on tough additional measures including privatisations which Samaras says he has nailed down but smaller parties in his coalition are still holding out on labour reforms.
Greece today cut its forecasts sharply in a 2013 budget that warned the economy would shrink by 4.5 percent, much worse than the previous estimate of 3.8 percent, while the public deficit would be 5.2 percent, rather than 4.2 percent.