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Greek deal possible, but not today, says top EU official

06/22/2015 11:10 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 05:59 EDT
The Eurozone's top official Jeroen Dijsselbloem has called a new debt proposal by Greece "a welcome step and a step in the right direction," but said he doesn't expect a bailout deal today.

The Greek deal is "broad and comprehensive," he said, but EU ministers need to study the details before reaching an agreement, Dijsselbloem said in a news conference after a meeting of finance ministers.

He confirmed an EU summit will go ahead this afternoon, but said a deal was more likely later in the week after working out technical details. He said officials will not negotiate further with Greece today.

"The summit is for Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to accept the sequence of events, to hear ...that an agreement has first to be reached at a technical level and then accepted by the Eurogroup," an EU official told Reuters.

Greece presents a package

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras presented the leaders of Germany, France and the European Union over the weekend with a proposal for what he called "a mutually beneficial agreement, which will provide a permanent solution."

Greece has to pay 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion Cdn) as a loan payment to the IMF on June 30. It cannot afford that without a deal that would unlock the remaining cash in its bailout fund, about 7.2 billion euros ($10.02 billion Cdn).

After five months of talks, its relations with the EU were souring and EU countries have begun preparing for Greece to exit the euro. 

The contents of the new offer have not yet been officially divulged, but Greek officials say it acquiesces to some of the  demands from Greece's EU and IMF lenders for tax hikes, curbing  early retirement and other spending cuts to ensure Athens hits budget targets.

In Brussels, European Union officials said Greece is  offering to raise the retirement age gradually to 67.

BBC released further details, quoting Greek economy minister Giorgos Stathakis.

New taxes in Greece

Among the ways the country intends to raise more money.

- A new tax on businesses.

- A new tax on the wealthy.

- Some increases in the VAT rate on selected items.

However Tsipras has offered no further reductions in pensions or public-sector wages.

The main Greek stock index was up about five per cent today on the prospect of deal and the Stoxx 50 index of major European shares was up 2.9 per cent.

Money continues to pour out of Greek banks as savers worry the country may have to quit the euro. About four billion euro ($5.5 billion Cdn) has been withdrawn in the past week.

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