European Commission spokesperson for Economic and Financial Affairs Annika Breidthardt stated there was some “convergence of opinions” during Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels between the EuroGroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Commisisoner Moscovici “was a good opportunity for an exchange of views”, adding that the Commission believed there was common ground on the matters of the second review. She said that she hoped there would be significant progress on Friday’s April 7 EuroGroup meeting in Malta.
The head of the EuroGroup tweeted early Wednesday morning that there was “good progress” in the meeting. The Greek Minister for Finance, Euclid Tsakalotos and Labour Minister Efi Achtsioglou came up against harsh demands during their meting with top EU officials in Brussels until the early hours of Wednesday.
Germany is pushing for the implementation of tough fiscal measures worth 3.6 billion euros in 2019, including pension cuts and the reduction of the tax free threshold instead of the Greek government’s hopes of putting these off until after 2019 when its term ends.
At the same time the IMF is adamant on the introduction of labour reforms by using the additional fiscal measures in 2018 as a “bargaining chip”. The Greek government is under immense pressure to close the deal and avoid demands for new measures in light of deteriorating economic indexes and a negative outlook on the Greek economy due to the dragging negotiations.