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No Accord Seen Imminent on Greek Bailout Funds

  • VOA News

A Greek national flag flies in the city of Athens, May 8, 2015.

A Greek national flag flies in the city of Athens, May 8, 2015.

European Union officials said Friday that talks between Greece and its international creditors were making progress but that it was unlikely an agreement on Athens receiving emergency bailout funds in return for reforms would be reached at next week's meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

"We will need more time," said Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the eurozone finance ministers group, after a meeting in Rome with his Italian counterpart, Pier Carlo Padoan. The eurozone finance ministers hold their next scheduled meeting Monday.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has maintained a hard line on Greek finances, said no one should "assume any kind of spectacular results. That is not within the realm of possibility."

Greek ministers have traveled extensively to European capitals during the week in a diplomatic campaign ahead of Monday's meeting. Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis met with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi in Frankfurt, while Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis headed to Paris, Rome, Brussels and Madrid in an effort to win support.

Speaking in parliament Friday, Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was optimistic his country would soon reach an agreement with its creditors. Failure to reach a deal, he said, would hurt Europe.

"Europe cannot bear less democracy, and the crime against democracy in the place in which it was born will not be silenced," Tsipras said.

Greece's left-wing government has been negotiating with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for a month. The creditors have demanded that Greece implement economic reforms and budget cuts before they release the final $8.1 billion installment of a financial rescue package for Athens totaling more than $270 billion.

To deal with its liquidity problem, the Greek government has already ordered public entities, including municipalities and schools, to transfer their reserves to the Bank of Greece, where they can be used as a loan to the state.

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