Greece’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and its European creditors are still going on — but according to leaks out Friday morning, there are still massive roadblocks in place.
Poul Thomsen, the IMF’s European director is reportedly saying that he doesn’t even have access to speak to Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, even though it looks quite possible that the country will default in less than a month.
That’s according to veteran Greek journalist Michael Ignatiou, on his own website.
Thomsen reportedly referred to the situation as being “far from being ideal,”
Here’s a rough translation of two of Ignatiou’s crucial paragraphs:
The picture presented by the Fund’s official is not optimistic since the only progress is procedural, rather than on the important issues the resolution of which depends on the financial aid to Greece. “The situation is far from being ideal,” Thomsen reportedly said…
Worst of all, he said, is that the experts of the Brussels Group do not have access to ministers. They can not see ministers. The representatives of the three institutions can not know if what they are told by officials from Athens reflect the decisions taken by ministers or positions of civil servants who may not have political cover.
According to the report the IMF and the Eurogroup have managed to compromise with the Greek government on tax issues and a reformed bankruptcy law.
But there’s still no consensus labour market and pensions reforms, which were always going to be the major sticking points. On Thursday the Financial Times reported a similar account of the stumbling blocks in negotiations, saying that Thomsen referred to the Greek pension system as “exceptionally generous.”
Meanwhile most analysts think Greece will struggle to get past June’s debt repayments without a deal.