Greece: Tsipras and Merkel fail to agree on key issues

24 April, 10:55

    (ANSAmed) - ATHENS, APRIL 24 - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had "constructive and positive" talks on the sidelines of an immigration summit in Brussels on Thursday, Kathimerini online reports quoting Greek government sources as saying and adding that there was a "convergence of views" on the level of Greece's primary surplus target this year and next year and as regards privatizations.

    Tsipras and Merkel, who met for about an hour, were said to have agreed that the primary surplus target should range between 1.2 and 1.5% this year and in 2016, significantly below the targets originally proposed by the country's creditors and that Greece should push forward with privatizing state assets to raise much-needed revenue.

    The two leaders also agreed on the need to boost the independence of the Finance Ministry's General Secretariat for Public Revenues and of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (Elstat), according to sources who said that Greece remains committed to its so-called red line, namely pension and labor overhauls and value-added tax increases.

    The talks came ahead of a summit in Riga, Latvia, on Friday where eurozone finance ministers are to take stock of the progress in slow-moving talks between Greece and its international creditors though no decision is expected on the release of much-needed rescue loans.

    Tsipras's meeting with Merkel in Brussels on Thursday was intended to elicit some political support from the German leader as Greek finances run dangerously low and speculation about a possible default is rife. According to sources, the two leaders agreed that efforts should be made to speed up negotiations on reforms with the likelihood of an extraordinary Eurogroup being held next week, rather than May 11, the next scheduled gathering of eurozone finance ministers.(ANSAmed).

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