Too Early to Discuss Next Greek Bailout, Moscovici Says

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Time to reach a deal between Greece and its official creditors is “very limited” and a third bailout can’t be discussed before the second aid program is concluded, EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

While there has been progress in areas such as value-added tax and non-performing loans, Greece needs to agree to changes in pension and labor-market policies to speed up progress toward a staff-level agreement, Moscovici said in Berlin on Monday.

“Time is short for both things, closing the review, concluding the program, and for thinking about a possible further arrangement,” Moscovici told reporters. “We’re not negotiating a package.”

European policy makers are pressing Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to make a deal as he insists he won’t compromise on “red lines” in his anti-austerity demands. Tsipras says he plans to force a discussion of Greece at a summit of European Union leaders in Latvia that begins Thursday.

Analysts such as Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, have said the choice is between a third aid program for Greece or the country’s exit from the euro region. Moscovici said the only scenario being considered is a strong Greece in a strong euro area.

“We’re first asking for a comprehensive set of reforms, including on the most important issues that would authorize us to close the review, conclude the program” and make the aid disbursement linked to it, Moscovici said. “And then could we discuss further arrangements, only then.”

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