Germany issues conflicting reports about Greek deal

Left Party-Syriza booth. May Day 2015, Brussels. [Joel Schalit/Flickr]

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday (3 June) that international creditors were working intensively with Greece to get a deal this month to unlock funds it needs to repay loans.

“All the work we are doing is directed at helping (ensure) completion in the agreed time frame. We are working intensively on that,” said Merkel at a joint news conference with Egypt’s president when asked whether Greece could be given more time beyond the end of June to get a deal.

Striking a less optimistic note, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said today that an initial look at Greece’s reform proposals to international lenders indicated that talks aimed at getting a deal to unlock cash for Athens will still take time.

Pointing to comments he made last week that he did not share Greek optimism about a deal, Schäuble said the situation was unchanged after he had seen Athens’ latest proposals.

Greece’s latest offer calls for a budget surplus before interest payments of close to, but just short of, creditors’ proposals for 1 percent this year and 2 percent next, sources said.

“I have no information that anything decisive has changed in terms of substance,” said Schäuble at an event in Berlin.

Greece has four payments to make to the IMF in June.

A spokesman for Germany’s finance ministry said a telephone conference of eurozone deputy finance ministers planned for Wednesday had been postponed until Thursday.

Berlin is at pains to show it is not dictating terms to Athens and Merkel’s spokesman stressed it was up to Greece and its lenders, not the leaders of Germany and France, to reach any agreement to disburse frozen aid to Athens.

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