Europe News

Greek PM says deal 'close' after meeting EU's Juncker

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives for a cabinet meeting at the parliament building in Athens last week.
Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said early on Thursday after late-night talks with senior EU officials that Greece was close to a deal with its creditors and that Athens would make a payment due to the IMF on Friday.

Following discussions over dinner at the European Commission in Brussels with its president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the chair of euro zone finance ministers, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Tsipras told reporters that an agreement was very close on a target for Athens' primary budget surplus and that a deal would be close in the next few days.

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Asked about a pending payment to the International Monetary Fund, he said: "Don't worry about it." Noting Greece had made payments in the past, he added: "We will continue."

Officials have said creditors and the left-wing Greek government had drafted their own, different, versions of a possible accord. Tsipras said the proposals under discussions would be "the Greek proposals". He said discussions must end up with a "realistic point of view".

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Facing bankruptcy, his government has been resisting creditors' demands for bigger cuts in pension payments and bigger sales tax increases to generate higher budget surpluses before interest payments that would let it to pay off debts