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'Positive momentum' in Greek debt talks but no clear agreement in sight
January 12, 2017 / 3:24 PM / 6 months ago

'Positive momentum' in Greek debt talks but no clear agreement in sight

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Euro coins are seen in front of a displayed Greece flag in this picture illustration, June 29, 2015.Dado Ruvic/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Talks between Greece and its euro zone creditors on agreed reforms, fiscal targets and medium-term debt relief have "positive momentum" but it is not clear when an agreement might come, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Thursday.

Greece is implementing a second set of reforms under its current bailout from euro zone governments in order to get new loans and achieve a fiscal surplus of 3.5 percent next year.

Meeting reform and fiscal targets agreed with the creditors would pave the way for some reprofiling of Greek public debt and extension of maturities that would make debt servicing much easier for Athens after 2023.

"There is positive momentum, all parties are looking for a solution and not many are looking to create problem," Tsakalotos told reporters after a meeting with European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici.

"Whether (an agreement) will be in January or later I don't know at this stage," he said as, separately, euro zone deputy finance ministers were about to meet in Brussels to prepare a meeting of finance ministers about Greece on Jan. 26.

Tsakalotos said the areas on which differences remained between Athens and its euro zone lenders were a reform of the energy sector, the size of the fiscal gap after 2018 and laws on collective wage bargaining.

He said one of the reasons why it took so long to reach an agreement was the sequencing of various elements of the deal -- the structural reforms, the medium-term debt relief and the fiscal position, not least because of Dutch, French and German elections this year.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Angus MacSwan

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