Greek bailout talks to start on Monday after delay
Talks between Greece and its international creditors over a new bailout package should go ahead on Monday after logistical issues that delayed meetings this week are resolved, a Greek official said yesterday.
The meetings with officials from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund had been expected to start on Friday but were delayed by organizational issues including the location of talks and security.
The finance ministry official said talks were now expected to get underway formally on Monday after the logistical issues were resolved.
Meanwhile, debt-crippled Greece on Friday took a step closer to a huge third international bailout by formally requesting IMF help.
The Greek government, which is seeking a three-year bailout worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion) to avert financial meltdown and a chaotic exit from the eurozone, had initially planned to go without fresh help from the IMF as it considers the agency too wedded to draconian austerity measures.
But in a letter to Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos wrote that Greece was "seeking a new loan" from the IMF.
He noted that the Greek parliament has passed two laws enshrining a series of tough reforms demanded by the creditors, including tax rises and a pensions overhaul, in a step closer to finalising the deal.
The confusion around the expected start to the talks on Friday underlined the challenges ahead if negotiations are to be wrapped up in time for a bailout worth up to 86 billion euros to be approved in parliament by Aug 20, as Greece intends.
Already, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is struggling to contain a rebellion in his leftwing Syriza party that made his government dependent on votes from pro-European opposition parties to get the tough bailout terms approved in parliament.