Cyprus Mail

Dijsselbloem: Eurogroup Greece meeting might be next week or week after

Euro zone finance ministers could meet next week or the week after to discuss Greece, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said late on Wednesday.

“I don’t have a deadline, although there is a sense of urgency that we all share, so we’ll have to see whether it can be next week or ultimately the week after,” Dijsselbloem said.

“There are practical issues that many countries have, with national holidays next week,” he told reporters in Paris after talks with his French counterpart Michel Sapin.

Euro zone finance ministers had penciled in a tentative meeting on Greece for April 28, but canceled it after progress in talks with Athens proved insufficient, triggering a drop of 2.5 percent in Greek shares fell 2.5 percent and 50-basis-point spike in 10-year bond yields, one of the biggest for weeks.

“We must go fast, but we must do it at a pace that allows us to succeed,” Sapin said.

At issue is what measures Athens would take if it fails to reach fiscal targets by 2018. Creditors, including the IMF and European institutions, want those measures made law immediately.

Athens argues that its constitution precludes legislation on a hypothetical event but it has offered to discuss a mechanism of automatic cutbacks.

Asked about whether the Greek parliament could adopt such contingency measures, Dijsselbloem said: “Many countries have this kind of contingency measures in their budget. Whether they are fiscal breaks or automatic tax measures if the budget gets off track.”

“Of course it has to be designed in a way that is legally feasible for the Greeks,” he added.

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