Greece reaches preliminary deal with creditors

ATHENS: Greece has reached a preliminary deal with its creditors that should pave the way for long-awaited debt relief talks, the Greek finance minister said on Tuesday.
“The negotiations are concluded,” Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters, according to state agency ANA.
After overnight talks, Tsakalotos said a “preliminary technical agreement” had been achieved ahead of a May 22 meeting of euro zone finance ministers, which is required to approve the deal.
Tsakalotos added he was certain that the agreement would enable Greece to secure debt relief measures from its creditors, which he has said is vital to spearhead recovery in the country’s struggling economy.
“There is no excuse of lack of agreement” in the talks, he said.
A compromise is required to unblock a tranche of loans Greece needs for debt repayments of seven billion euros ($7.6 billion) in July.
Under pressure from its creditors — the European Union, European Central Bank and the IMF — the government agreed earlier this month to adopt another 3.6 billion euros in cuts in 2019 and 2020.
Athens conceded fresh pension and tax break cuts in return for permission to spend an equivalent sum on poverty relief measures.
A government source on Tuesday said pensions are to be cut by 9 per cent on average, ANA said. The measures are to be approved by parliament by mid-May.
However, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said he will not apply these cuts without a clear pledge later this month on debt-easing measures for Greece.
The nation’s debt in 2016 stood at nearly 315 billion euros or 179 per cent of output, up from 177.4 per cent in 2015. — Reuters