Athens (AFP) – Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said the talks with the nation’s foreign lenders had ended without a deal for the disbursement of a vital one-billion-euro slice of financial aid.
“No, there was no agreement,” the minister said after negotiations on the future of the heavily indebted arms manufacturer Hellenic Defence Systems (EAS), one of the state firms under audit by creditors.
Monitors from the so-called “troika” of international lenders — the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank — will leave Athens Tuesday after a week-long review of the Greek economy.
A deal on the restructuring of EAS is key to unlocking the $1.4 billion loan installment from Greece’s ongoing bailout.
Auditors have also scrutinized efforts to privatize ailing state mining company LARKO and truck manufacturer ELVO as well as the drafting of a new property tax and the restructuring of the private sector.
After a meeting with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Stournaras appeared pessimistic about the chances of eurozone finance ministers approving the latest tranche of aid during a meeting in Brussels Tuesday.
“The Eurogroup will decide tomorrow, so we will know tomorrow night,” he said. “The release of this tranche tomorrow was never envisaged.”
Whether the money, pending since June, is released or not, the troika will be back in Athens in January in a bid to tackle other sensitive reform issues.
Stournaras said there had been some progress this week on the lifting of a ban on home foreclosures.
Greece hopes to start its six-month presidency of the EU in January without the pressure of the difficult talks with its creditors.