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Euro zone delays meeting on Greece reforms, Tsipras seeks meeting with European leaders

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras plans to contact European Council President Donald Tusk and seek a summit of European leaders to discuss Greece’s bailout deal, a government source said on Tuesday.

The source spoke hours after a meeting between Greece and its international lenders ended inconclusively on a package of additional reforms demanded of Athens upfront, in order to qualify for funds under a multi-billion euro bailout package it signed up to last year.

Tsipras had scheduled a telephone conversation with Tusk on Wednesday morning, the source said.

Euro zone finance ministers will not meet on Thursday and need more time to discuss two sets of Greek reforms that would unlock new loans, the office of the Eurogroup said on Twitter.

The meeting was a possibility because Greece and its lenders aim to reach an agreement on a package of special measures that would be implemented only if needed, to make sure the country reaches agreed fiscal targets in 2018.

“No additional Eurogroup on Greece this Thursday, more time needed,” said the spokesman for the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem. “Meeting on first review, contingency package and debt at later stage,” the spokesman, Michel Reijns, said.

A second official said a meeting of the Eurogroup could come next week, although that was still to be confirmed.

Athens hopes a deal will unlock up to 5 billion euros more in aid that it needs to cover 3.5 billion euros in repayments to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in July as well as unpaid domestic bills.

The special measures, which mean annual savings of around 2 percent of Greek economic output, are to come on top of the basic reform package, which is worth between 2.5 and 3.0 percent of gross domestic product and that was envisaged by an agreement with the euro zone to prevent Greece from going bankrupt.

A deal on the two sets of reforms — the basic and the special ones — should enable euro zone finance ministers to start a discussion on how to help Greece deal with its heavy debt load that Athens says is suffocating the economy.

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