An important agreement was reportedly reached between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras yesterday (26 April) that the two leaders would maintain contact during talks between Athens and its lenders to reach a debt deal. A Greek official involved in the negotiations said that “During their communication, they expressed their common will for a steady communication throughout the course of negotiations in order to have a mutually beneficial solution soon.”
Athens has recently intensified its efforts to reach a deal that would unlock 7.2 billion euros in remaining bailout money to be provided by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the deeply indebted Mediterranean country urgently needs to avoid default and a possible exit from the Eurozone. However, during a regular meeting in Riga last Friday (24 April), Eurozone finance ministers issued yet another stern warning to the Greek government that it would not receive any more funds until it agreed to a complete economic reform plan. The so-called Brussels Group, which includes the technical teams from Greece and its creditors, is reportedly due to hold a teleconference on Monday and convene on Wednesday to step up the fruitless negotiations.
Three months of protracted negotiations that have yielded hardly any palpable results raised tensions between Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his Eurozone colleagues during the meeting in Riga last Friday. Eurozone ministers – the so-called Eurogroup – openly complained that the talks “were going nowhere”, with one minister even suggesting that it was time the EU prepared a ‘plan B’ for a Greek default. Meanwhile, a survey published yesterday (26 April) showed that about 70 percent of Greek population want their three-month-old government lead by a radical left-wing party to reach an agreement with their creditors.