Statements, comments and speculation throughout Europe on the “Greek issue” continued unabated on Tuesday, given that no deal appears on the horizon, at least this month.
The cash-strapped leftist government in Athens nevertheless appears to have bought itself some extra breathing space by sequestering cash reserves by local governments and other state-affiliated entities, like hospitals – to the howls of the opposition and even some of its own MPs, one of whom referred to a “coup d’etat”.
According to Bloomberg, the ECB may restrict emergency funding for Greece’s systemic banks, a decision that would only exacerbate the country’s liquidity problems. Deposits continue to decrease in Greek banks and state revenues are also down.
Meanwhile, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem reiterated on Tuesday that the final deadline for Greece’s leftist to achieve a deal is June 30, something echoed repeatedly by the Euro area’s leaders. “We’ve said this program is extended by four months, that’s the firm deadline, so the program ends at the end of June,” he told RTL television.
Finally, Greek FinMin Yanis Varoufakis put a “happy face” on developments, saying Greece will clinch a deal – but probably not by the April 24 Eurogroup meeting’
“There will be a deal, a comprehensive agreement, but this does not mean that there will be an agreement at Friday’s Eurogroup.”
He also confirmed that the IMF was demanding further labour sector liberalization, something his leftist government promised its supporters it would reverse, not continue. The other “sticking point” is pension reform in the debt-laden and recession-hit country.