Greece’s creditors are close to finishing a draft agreement to put to the leftist government in Athens, a source close to the talks said on Tuesday, injecting new momentum into long-running negotiations to release aid for the cash-strapped country.
Hours earlier, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Athens had submitted its own proposal to lenders – an apparent effort to pre-empt a take-it-or-leave-it offer by the creditors and to show Greek voters that Athens made its move first.
The statements of proposal and counter-proposal came after leaders of Germany, France and the lending institutions held emergency talks on the Greek debt crisis in Berlin late on Monday in a sign of top-level concern about the impasse.
Starved of aid and access to bond markets, Athens is precipitously close to running out of money. It has threatened to default on an IMF payment this week without a deal, though it also says it will reject any ultimatums.
Failure to reach agreement this month could trigger a Greek default and lead to the imposition of capital controls and a potential exit from the euro zone, dealing a serious blow to Europe’s supposedly irreversible single currency.
“We have submitted a realistic plan for Greece to exit the crisis. A realistic plan, whose acceptance by the institutions, our lenders and our partners in Europe will mark the end of the scenario of divisions in Europe,” Tsipras told reporters.
“It is now clear that the decision on whether they want to adjust to realism … the decision rests with the political leadership of Europe.”
A source close to the talks said the lenders in the meantime were finalizing details of their offer to Athens.
“We are almost done,” the source said.
A European Commission spokeswoman said many documents were being exchanged among negotiators, which was “already a good sign”. Talks with Greece were continuing and “we are not there yet”, she said.
A euro zone source said the Greek document was insufficient and was not officially on the table. It made no significant concessions on the main outstanding issues of pension and labor market reform, fiscal targets and the size of the civil service that have dogged four months of tough negotiations.