The news came hours after the Greek parliament approved a second round of reforms demanded by the worldwide creditors before any negotiations could start.
The following are key dates in Greece’s funding talks with its euro zone partners, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as a list of upcoming payments the Greek government needs to make.
MPs voted 230-63 in favour of the measures, following a whirlwind debate that ended at 4am local time.
Even so, “Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was able to win over only two additional members of his leftist Syriza party compared with the first major vote last week on the bailout accord”.
“Clearly it’s a hard path ahead, we’re just at the beginning of the process”, International Monetary Fund spokesman Gerry Rice said. Thirty-six of 149 deputies of Syriza have cast their votes against the bill or abstained from voting, but the number is less than what it was for the more controversial first bill that was passed last week.
Having lost the support of almost a quarter of his MPs on two crucial votes in the last week, Tsipras could “have difficulty passing laws in future without forging a political agreement with other parties”, said Dimitris Sotiropoulos, a political science professor at Athens University.
Implementation of these measures means that Greece will have to bring in structural changes in its system and continue to adjust its finances till the economy starts heading towards the positive side. “We need clear, strong solutions”, State Minister Nikos Pappas told the weekly Ependysi in an interview published on Saturday.
Greece wants to seal an agreement with creditors by August 20, when a 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) bond redemption on notes held by the European Central Bank comes due, the government official said.
“Bulgaria gave me an opportunity to survive, which is hard in Greece these days”, Douvos said among rows of olive oil bottles and stacks of halloumi cheese in his deli in downtown Sofia.
EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici announced on Wednesday that the negotiations had started, but face-to-face meetings between negotiators do not yet appear to have taken place.
The stakes have been raised by the recent standoff between the government and European institutions, which prompted the authorities to introduce capital controls on Greek banks.
Greek banks are now open after weeks of being closed, but cash withdrawals are limited to 60 euros per day, or about $65. But Varoufakis voted in favor of the new reforms Thursday.
Flabouraris called on Syriza rebels to drop their opposition.
Tsipras insists there is no viable alternative to the bailout but has been wary of striking out against his party opponents in a bid to keep it together, at least while talks proceed.
If Greece honoured its promises under the planned bailout deal with its worldwide creditors, one could expect a “longer period of pronounced calm” in the eurozone, Juncker said.
Greece had initially said the creditors would fly to Athens on Friday, but sources close to the negotiations spoke of “logistical problems” holding up the arrival, including the question of where the officials would be based.
Some analysts believe Greece’s exit would have a far-reaching economic impact – particularly because part of the eurozone’s objective is to facilitate European market prosperity through a system of unified currency.