The Greek government remains optimistic that it can reach a deal with lenders by June 5, when the first of several payments to the International Monetary Fund are due, but the range of issues on which there has yet to be an agreement suggests it will be very difficult to reach a deal within that timeframe.
The government’s plan to reopen state broadcaster ERT is proving far from straightforward to implement, surprisingly, though, largely due to friction within SYRIZA.
Despite enduring a testing time during the meeting of SYRIZA’s central committee over the weekend, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras emerged on Sunday without any serious damage and with the majority of the party body backing his handling of negotiations with lenders.
A meeting between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Riga on Thursday night failed to yield any tangible results, even though Athens insists that an agreement with creditors is just days away.
There has been a lot of movement within SYRIZA over the last few days amid concern that lenders will force the government to sign a deal that runs contrary to the party’s main pre-election pledges.
The Greek public’s increasing scepticism about the government’s negotiating strategy has been emphasised by a new poll, which underlines, though, that opposition parties are not profiting from the growing doubts about SYRIZA.
Athens has been monitoring with great concern the ongoing political crisis in the neighboring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) but the SYRIZA-led government is unlikely to be deterred in its efforts to build closer ties with Skopje.
Reports over the weekend that Greece came close to not paying the 750 million euros due to the International Monetary Fund on May 12 will increase the political pressure on the government to reach a deal with lenders as soon as possible.
SYRIZA finds itself caught between party members and MPs, who are reluctant to sign up to a deal with lenders that will mean adopting more austerity measures, and Greek society, which is growing increasingly desperate for a deal as cash dries up.
Negotiations between Greece and its lenders were due to resume at the Brussels Group level on Thursday after a lengthy cabinet meeting in Athens on Wednesday night.