Greece-EU Resume Bailout Talks


Greece and its regional partners resumed bailout talks on Friday, as Athens struggled to make pension payments to more than 2 million retirees, putting more pressure on the cash-strapped government to strike an accord with its international creditors.

Greece and the Eurozone are aiming to have a preliminary agreement over bailout aid by Sunday, giving finance ministers enough time to sign off on the new deal later this month, according to officials quoted by various media outlets on Friday.

The Greek government is showing greater willingness to reach an accord after several months of failed negotiations. Earlier this week the government sidelined finance minister Yanis Varoufakis from negotiations, opting instead to go with Euclid Tsakalotos, the country’s deputy foreign minister for economic affairs.

The cash-strapped government is struggling to complete payments to more than 2 million pensioners this week, which is putting more pressure on the ruling government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Tsipras’ government failed to reach an accord last month with international creditors that would unlock €7.2 billion of bailout aid. Athens has been relying on its own funding since last August. Last week the government ordered state and municipal entities to hand over their cash reserves to the central bank.

“We hope that negotiations will result in a normalization of the situation, so that we can enter a recovery period after June, regain market access, sell bonds, in the framework of sustainable debt,” Varoufakis was quoted in Athens on Friday.

Global investors are increasingly of the opinion that Greece will eventually exit the Eurozone, according to a recent poll by Bloomberg. A clear majority of investors – some 52% – say Greece will eventually exit the currency block, according to Bloomberg Markets Global Poll. The same poll conducted in January showed that only 31% of global investors believed Greece would exit the euro.

The percentage of investors saying Greece would stay in the Eurozone fell to 43% from 61% back in January.

About one-fifth (18%) of respondents said Greece would exit the euro before the end of 2015. Another 22% said Greece would exit sometime between 2015 and 2016. Nearly half (43%) maintained that Greece would not be faced with an exit situation.