EU’s Juncker Foresees Greek Aid Agreement by Early June

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker
Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the press conference following the European Union finance ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he expects an international agreement unlocking emergency aid for Greece to be reached by early next month.

Asked in an interview on Tuesday in Strasbourg, France, whether he is optimistic about the prospect of an accord between the Greek government and its creditors, Juncker said: “yes, toward the end of May, start of June.”

Juncker said he is personally involved in the efforts to prevent a debt default by the anti-austerity government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras while dismissing British and Greek media reports on Monday that he has come up with a compromise plan on behalf of the creditors.

“There is no Juncker plan,” he said. “This rumor in the British and Greek press about a Juncker plan isn’t true.”

Juncker also ruled out the possibility of an aid deal with Greece at a May 21-22 meeting in Riga, Latvia, of European Union leaders with their counterparts from non-EU countries to the east such as Ukraine.

“Riga isn’t made for that,” he said. Meetings on Greece will take place “on the margins” of the summit in Riga, according to Juncker.

Greek shares rose for a second day on Tuesday, with the benchmark Athens Stock Exchange general index gaining 2.8 percent at 4:59 p.m. local time. Greek bonds rebounded after a sell-off on Monday, with the yield on two-year notes falling 108 basis points to 22.91 percent.

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