EU negotiators arrive in Athens for bailout talks



By NewsGram Staff Writer

European Union (EU) negotiators arrived in Athens on Friday to begin discussions on a third Greek bailout.

Greek government officials are expected to hold talks during the first high-level negotiations in the Greek capital since leftist Alexis Tsipras became prime minister in January, BBC reported.

The negotiators comprise representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the eurozone’s main bailout fund.

The move comes after Greek MPs approved tough new conditions set by the EU lenders last week.

The new conditions included an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) and pushing back the retirement age. On Wednesday, the ECB increased its cash lifeline to Greek banks by 900 million euros (about $980 million).

The IMF confirmed on Monday that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of 2.05 billion euros ($2.24 billion) and was no longer in arrears.

Greece’s next major deadline is August 20, when it must pay 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to the IMF in September.

(With inputs from IANS)