Greek FinMin "confident" on debt agreement after talks with Italian counterpart
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Wednesday expressed optimism about the possible outcome of the next European Union (EU) meeting on Athens' debt crisis, after holding talks here with his Italian counterpart Pier Carlo Padoan.
"We had an excellent discussion, and we have been working on a solution that is crucial not only for Greece but for Eurozone's strength and stability," Varoufakis told reporters after the meeting.
He added that he felt "confident" about the approaching gathering of EU finance ministers which is due to take place next Monday in Brussels.
"We had a very fruitful exchange of views on the best way to make the next Eurogroup meeting a platform to reach a kind of agreement between Greece and our partners, which not only resolves the current negotiations but will lead to a period after June that will allow Greece's economy to recover and grow again," Varoufakis said.
Padoan declared there was a common willing from both the Greek government and the Eurogroup to find a positive solution in order to strengthen the presence of Greece in the eurozone.
"We will see if we can reach an agreement on May 11, or maybe a little further. We have encouraged (Greece) to present a package of reforms, and we are confident that Greece will make its best," Padoan said.
For over three months now, Greece has been locked in tough negotiations with the European Central Bank (ECB), the EU commission, and the International Monetary Fund (IFM) in order to define a plan of economic reforms to satisfy its international creditors, and thus unlock a residual 7.2-billion-euro tranche of its overall 240 billion euros (272 billion U.S. dollars) bailout.
Varoufakis travelled to Brussels and Paris on Tuesday in a renewed effort to press for a deal, which Greece strongly needs to avoid bankruptcy.
On Wednesday, the Greek government said it made a 200 million Euros interest payment to the IMF. However, a second repayment worth 750 million euros must be honored by May 12.
At the Eurogroup meeting on May 11, the EU finance ministers will further discuss Greece's debt crisis and see if a deal on the last tranche of the bailout can be reached.
In February, EU lenders had agreed on extending Greece's major repayment deadlines until the end of June, under condition that the country would implement economic reforms. (1 euro = 1.13 U.S. dollars)
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