Greece says expects bailout deal by Aug. 18

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 04, 2015 6:00 AM

By Angeliki Koutantou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece expects to conclude a bailout deal with international lenders by Aug. 18, with the drafting of the accord starting on Wednesday, government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili said on Tuesday.

"The first phase of negotiations ends today and the second phase starts, which really contains the details of drafting (the deal)," Gerovasili told Skai TV station.

The drafting of the accord would start on Wednesday, she said.

"If the terms of the (EU) summit are met, I think that we will have a deal by the 18th of this month," she said.

Greece's finance and economic ministers were due to meet international lenders later on Tuesday to discuss privatizations and bank recapitalization.

In an interview with Ethnos newspaper on Monday, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici described an August deal as possible, but said it would be "ambitious", suggesting that it would take hard work to achieve it.

The bailout, worth up to 86 billion euros ($94.42 billion), needs to be settled by Aug. 20 if Greece is to pay off debt of 3.5 billion euros to the European Central Bank that matures that day.

When creditors agreed in July to negotiate a deal aimed at keeping it afloat and in the euro zone, Greece committed to implementing major reforms, such as scrapping early retirement, by the end of October.

Lenders want, for example, an increase in the retirement age to 67 from the nominal 62 that falls significantly depending on the number of years worked and family status.

On Monday Greece and lenders agreed that any pension reforms would not affect individuals who retired before the end of June 2015. Talks on Tuesday were shifting onto issues related to the recapitalization of banks and privatization matters.

"We are determined to pursue a deal, and be tough in negotiations until the last minute," the Greek official said.

(Reporting By Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)