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14/04 – Next days to be decisive for Greece

Since Monday Greece has been in a new race against the clock, L’Opinion sums up. The country’s creditors have given it until April 20 to present, again, a credible economic reform plan for taxation, pensions and privatisations, in order to secure the release of the final aid tranche of €7.2 billion.

The deadline, which was set during the most recent technical meetings last Wednesday and Thursday, has all the allure of an ultimatum, the French newspaper comments, while Naftemporiki stresses that Brussels characterises the next days as decisive for Greece. The country’s creditors want to be able to closely study the document before submitting it to the euro area’s Finance Ministers at their April 24 meeting in Riga, Latvia.

According to European Commission Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas, the negotiations continue, with the EC cooperating with the other institutions and the Greek authorities, Skai reports. However, according to L’Opinion, Brussels is finding it more and more difficult to hide its impatience. “Sympathy for Greece is drying up,” an INYT headline reads. In an interview with Bloomberg TV being covered by several other media such as Naftemporiki, L’Opinion and The Malta Times, EC Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis lamented the time wasted by Greece in recent weeks.

A report in The Malta Times quotes him as saying yesterday that Greece is not moving fast enough to draw up and implement structural reforms and that there is limited time to prevent the country from running out of cash. “Talks are very complicated. Time is running out,” Mr Dombrovskis said in the interview, considering – as Diário Económico further reports – that there is still a lot of work to do before the Eurogroup meeting.

As to the IMF, it remains cautious, expressing concerns about Greece, Ethnos reports. Default is a prospect for which European governments, irritated at what they view as unprofessional negotiating tactics and confrontational rhetoric, have begun to make contingency plans, the Financial Times reports, adding that – according to sources – the Greek government itself is preparing to default on its debts – unless it can reach a deal with its international creditors before April’s end – the FT report finding coverage in Italian newspapers Corriere della Sera and Avvenire, as well as in The Irish Independent.

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