The next meeting of eurozone finance ministers to discuss Greece’s massive bailout will be held in Brussels on 9 May, Athens said yesterday (28 April).
“Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem has informed Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos that the meeting will take place on 9 May,” the government said in a statement.
It added that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by telephone on Thursday with European Commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker and US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
Dijsselbloem’s spokesman confirmed the date of the Eurogroup talks on Twitter.
The meeting was initially scheduled for Thursday, but was cancelled earlier this week amid disagreements between Athens and the International Monetary Fund, which has demanded more reforms from Greece.
The cancellation of the meeting prompted fury from Athens, with Tsipras calling EU President Donald Tusk on Wednesday (27 April) to demand a summit of eurozone countries if things didn’t progress on a ministerial level.
The talks have already suffered months of delays, and Greece wants to wrap them up as quickly as possible so that it can unlock the next tranche of its €86-billion bailout, ahead of a huge European Central Bank payment due in July.
To resolve the row, eurozone ministers agreed last Friday (22 April) in principle to a package of “contingency measures” that would be imposed if Greece misses its spending targets in 2018.
Tsipras is furious over the fresh demands, but Athens desperately needs to complete the so-called first review of its bailout so that it can meet the ECB payment and start talks on debt relief.
The Greek premier, who swept to power in January 2015 vowing an end to austerity, went on to sign Greece up for its third bailout in five years in exchange for more tough reforms, including a painful pensions shake-up.
The EU’s top economic official warned earlier Thursday that the talks need to wrap up quickly to avoid heaping further harm on Greece’s debt-wracked economy.