The crucial Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers got underway on Wednesday (24 June) evening in Brussels. On the agenda: hammering out a solution to the Greek debt crisis.
After five months of deadlock, this is the last chance for Greece to make a deal and avoid defaulting on its 1.6 billion euro loan repayment, due to the IMF on June 30.
“We are in a process of very intense negotiations,” Valdis Dombrovskis, EU Commisison Vice-President for the Euro, told reporters as he headed in to Wednesday’s meeting. “We are making progress but there are still some outstanding issues to be resolved.”
EU officials say the 19 finance ministers will work all night if necessary to finalize an agreement ahead of tomorrow’s EU summit.
But some say that won’t be enough.
“I would be very positively surprised if we would get a deal,” Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said as he arrived at the meeting. “There has been a lot of back and forth between the technical level and the political level.We have not seen a concrete proposal yet.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presented his creditors with a new set of proposals on Monday and the initial reaction was positive.
But, since then, little progress has been made and the mood in Brussels is sceptical.
Europeans markets shared that feeling – closing down on Wednesday (June 24) amid fears of a Greek default.
euronews’ Efi Koustakosta was following the discussions in Brussels.
“After six hours of tough negotiations between Tsipras and the heads of the institutions without any outcome, the expectations for the Eurogroup are low. According to EU sources negotiations will go on over the coming hours and the EU Summit tomorrow will also be crucial.”