Greece’s left-wing government began talks with its international lenders in an effort to find some common ground before Eurozone Finance Ministers meet on Monday to discuss Greece’s proposals for a new debt deal. Greece is under pressure from Europe to stick to the terms of the $275 billion bailout, or forfeit this financial lifeline. CCTV’s Filio Kontrafouri reported the story from Athens.
Greece hopes impending debt deal will work this timeGreece's left-wing government began talks with its international lenders in an effort to find some common ground before Eurozone Finance Ministers meet on Monday to discuss Greece's proposals for a new debt deal. Greece is under pressure from Europe to stick to the terms of the $275 billion bailout, or forfeit this financial lifeline. CCTV's Filio Kontrafouri reported the story from Athens.
Greeks have been optimistic over the prospects of a deal and have supported their government’s fight to roll back austerity. It’s the beginning of the carnival season or “Burnt Thursday”, a day traditionally celebrated across Greece with lots of music. Some Greeks have also begun celebrating their government.
“Greeks are certainly happy for the battle the Greek government is fighting, regardless of whether they support the Syriza party, or not,” Maria Sotou, Klimataria Tavern owner said. “This new government has made us feel more proud, that someone is taking abroad our voice too, our pain and our lives.”
Gloomy talk about the country running out of money, or about a possible exit from the Euro, has not seemed to panic locals.
Even so, while the new government seems to have boosted the morale of Greeks, they are well aware that getting rid of austerity, if that happens, will not be an easy ride.
Greece wanted three months to negotiate new bailout terms, as well as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Eurozone funding to help Greece pay its debts while the proposed talks are underway. Europe has rejected this idea. Both sides still have said compromise is possible.
“I’m optimistic that we’ll have an outcome on the technical process, because I think that’s simply a matter of comparing the different measures and content of the programs,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem of the Eurogroup of Eurozone Finance Ministers said. “I’m very cautious on the political side, it’s going to be very difficult, it’s going to take time, and don’t get your hopes up yet.”
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said his people give him the strength to keep negotiating with the country’s lenders.
“The transition to the existing bailout program towards a new program is the main subject of our negotiation and will be the main issue of the next Eurogroup meeting,” the prime minister said. “The Greek delegation will take part in these meetings with crystal clear proposals, we will try to convince our partners about our proposal. We will not be blackmailed and we will not blackmail them.”
Greeks appear determined to support him until he secures an agreement that is in Greece’s favor.