New Greek demands threaten debt deal

Schauble on Greece: Adopt 2010 measures
Schauble on Greece: Adopt 2010 measures

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    Schauble on Greece: Adopt 2010 measures

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Schauble on Greece: Adopt 2010 measures 03:46

Story highlights

  • Last-minute demands by Athens threaten to upend deal to avoid default
  • Key document may now not be completed in time for Thursday evening's meeting of eurozone finance ministers
  • A second aid programme for Greece cannot be agreed by finance ministers without the debt document
Representatives of eurozone bail-out lenders are scrambling this morning to finalise an agreement with the Greek government after last-minute demands by Athens threatened to upend the deal.
According to people briefed on the talks between lenders and Greek leaders, which ended early this morning, Lucas Papademos, the Greek prime minister, has insisted on revising budget targets for 2014 and only informed European negotiators at 6am this morning.
The demand, which would have Athens reaching a primary budget surplus of 4.5 per cent by 2014, has forced officials in the so-called troika -- the International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and European Central Bank -- to revise their debt sustainability analysis. The key document may now not be completed in time for Thursday evening's meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
The troika debt analysis is the central document needed to determine how big Greece's new bail-out must be. A second aid programme cannot be agreed by finance ministers without it and a proposed deal with private sector bondholders holding about €200bn in Greek bonds is contingent on the bail-out being agreed.
In addition, officials briefed on the all-night discussions said Antonis Samaras, head of the centre-right New Democracy party and Greece's presumptive next prime minister, is continuing to hold out against signing a "letter of assurance" demanded by eurozone lenders committing all major party leaders to stick to the programme. European leaders have demanded the signatures in exchange for the new €130bn bail-out, but officials are concerned they will not have Mr Samaras' commitment in time for the eurozone finance ministers' meeting, which starts at 6pm.
European Union officials view Mr Samaras' signature as essential with Greek elections only two months away.
Georgios Karatzaferis, head of the small right-wing Laos party and a member of the national unity government, is unlikely to sign a letter, officials said.
The all-night negotiations focused on one paragraph in the bail-out agreement on pensions and one paragraph on non-wage labour costs, officials said.
During the all-night talks, Greek leaders agreed to €300m in pension cuts for 2012, but resisted an additional €325m cut in 2013, forcing negotiators to find cuts elsewhere.
The €325m in cuts must be found by weekend. It remains unclear whether the new deal will be approved by Mr Samaras, officials said.