Dijsselbloem: Talks between Greece and its creditors to continue in Brussels (upd)

Progress has been made in the talks between Greece and its creditors but key issues remain, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Monday, during a joint press conference with European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) head Klaus Regling, following a meeting of Eurozone ministers in Brussels.

Dijsselbloem said talks will continue at a technical level in Brussels, adding that things are going well on a fiscal level and there are no problems.

He said though that “there’s no promise” that all work will be completed by the next Eurogroup on April 7, noting that there is a “common understanding” and “common will” to complete the review as soon as possible.

Asked by a journalist why the heads of the institutions are not returning to Athens, he said they have decided to reverse the order and first resolve the “big issues”, leaving technical details to be discussed in Athens.

Moscovici said the preparatory meeting was useful because it clarified some issues, but added the pending issues are the labour market and pension reforms. “All sides agreed the mission in Athens was positive and that significant progress was made,” reiterating Dijsselbloem’s statement about a “common understanding” to avoid any delays that will be negative for investors’ trust and growth. “It’s in everyone’s interest,” he said.

Regling noted the need not to lose the momentum as any uncertainty could have a cost for the economy, adding that progress has been made compared to the previous Eurogroup and that it is important to maintain this trend“The next large repayment in in July but it is clearly better to have concluded the agreement much earlier in order to have stability,” he noted.