Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters on Thursday he was “firmly optimistic” his government would reach an agreement with foreign creditors by the end of April despite friction over issues such as pension and labor reform.
In a statement, Tsipras said several points of agreement had been found since talks first started, especially on areas such as tax collection, corruption and initiatives to distribute the tax burden on those who have the ability to pay.
But he acknowledged that the two sides disagreed on four issues: labor issues, pension reform, a hike in value-added taxes and privatizations, which he referred to as “development of state property” rather than asset sales.
His comments came after suggestions from European partners that a deal to unlock badly-needed aid was unlikely next week and that Greece risks running out of cash and defaulting on debt payments.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, among Tsipras’s harshest critics, went so far as to say on Wednesday that “no one has a clue” how a deal could be reached, dampening hopes of a breakthrough at an April 24 meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Riga.