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ATHENS – With the clock running on delayed reforms, and cash running out, Greece and its creditors will resume technical talks this week.

Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, reversing his campaign promises, has taken a four-month bailout extension, promised to pay the country’s debt in full and now is having his team negotiate what reforms he will impose next.

Greece is talking to the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB), which it now calls The Institutions, in order to get a pending 7.2 billion euro installment Tsipras vowed to reject but now says the country needs.

The administration is hoping that two vague outlines without specific fiscal targets it has submitted will satisfy the creditors and lead the ECB to release more money to the country’s beleaguered banks and lift a ceiling on how much can be borrowed from the markets in short-term bonds.

The talks are going on in two fronts, of a technical nature in Brussels, and with troika envoys simultaneously in Athens checking the books, but locked out of the Finance Ministry and doing their job in a hotel so the government can say the Troika isn’t dictating terms.

Greece embarks on a second week of technical discussions with its lenders from Monday with the aim of agreeing on a first batch of reforms but also securing a concession, possibly from the European Central Bank, that would help it overcome its pressing liquidity problems.

Sources in Brussels told Kathimerini that there was little progress in the discussions that took place in the Belgian capital due to the lack of technical data and because of an apparent insistence on the Greek side on discussing the seven reform proposals that Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis had submitted before the last Eurogroup.

Speaking at an economic conference in northern Italy, Varoufakis insisted that the government had “made all the necessary provisions to ensure there is no accident” but said the troika has to play its part although he won’t call them by that name.

“I’ve no doubt the ECB is going to do what it takes… to smooth cash flow problems which are very small in the grander scheme of things,” he said at the gathering in Cernobbio, near Lake Como.

Source: The National Herald
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