Greek Debt Talks Continue This Week After Tsipras and Merkel Chat On Sunday

addAfter meeting last week on the sidelines of an EU Summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke together on Sunday during a telephone call and agreed to continue talks about Greece’s debt problems.

Greek Prime Minister Tsipras held a meeting on Sunday with his top finance ministers to discuss the outcome of last Friday’s Euro Group meeting in Riga, Latvia and find a better strategy for dealing with Greece’s debts and reform guidelines from their international creditors.

Athens will continue talks with its international creditors on Monday, a government source told reporters yesterday, along with a scheduled Brussels Group teleconference on Monday and meeting on Wednesday as Greece’s leaders scramble to pay government employees and pensioners this week after tapping into the deposits of local cities and municipalities just last week to fulfill Greece’s payments totaling over €1.5 billion.

EU finance ministers explained during their meeting in Latvia that Greece won’t be able to receive its €7.2 billion bailout package  unless Athens submits an approved reform list of economic measures.

Before telling reporters last Friday that the agreement of February 20th remains the framework for reaching a deal, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Chairman of the Euro group of Ministers, reiterated that more progress is needed in the discussions between Greece’s leaders and its international creditors, “the institutions” and time was already lost by Greek authorities over the past 2 months to reach a comprehensive package deal.

“We are all aware that time is running out. Too much time has been lost over the past two months and it is therefore clear that these discussions need to make significantly more progress so that the institutions can give their light on a comprehensive package which will then go to the Euro group for a political decision” Dijsselbloem said.

“The responsibility for that lies mainly on the side of the Greek authorities. Finding an agreement is first and foremost in Greece’s interest” Dijsselbloem added.

Although Greeks overwhelmingly support leftist party Syriza and their anti-austerity leanings, a  majority of Greeks support a compromise deal between Greece’s leaders and their international creditors, according to a new poll from Kapa research and reported on Sunday in Greek newspapers To Vima and Kathimerini.

The poll found that 71.9 percent favor reaching an agreement with Greece’s creditors that would allow Greece to remain in the euro area.

Only 23.2 percent of polled Greeks said that Greece’s government should refuse to compromise.

-Johnathan Schweitzer

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