EU Officials Dismiss Greek ‘Aid Agreement’ Statement

Greece’s government on Wednesday said it is starting to draft an agreement with creditors that would pave the way for aid, but European officials quickly dismissed that as wishful thinking.  Greece and its European and International Monetary Fund lenders have been locked in tortuous negotiations on a reforms agreement for four months without a breakthrough in sight. Without a deal, Athens risks default or bankruptcy in weeks.

A new round of talks begin on Wednesday in Brussels, and a Greek government official said the two sides would start drafting a technical-level agreement there, along the lines of Athens’ longtime demands for no wage or pension cuts and a lower target for a primary budget surplus.  But European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said the two sides still had some way to go before any agreement could be drawn up.

“We are working very intensively to ensure a staff-level agreement,” he said. “We are still not there yet.”  Other officials in the euro zone, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, were more blunt. One called the Greek remarks “nonsense”. Another said: “I wish it were true.”