Cautious optimism in Greece after EU talks

Cautious optimism in Greece after EU talks
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives ahead of the European Council Summit at the European Union (EU) Headquarters.

The Greek government cautioned against premature celebration on Friday amid cautious optimism following its crunch talks with the EU that it could reach a deal to overhaul the country's bailout.

"We don't want to spread enthusiasm before the deal is done," government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Antenna TV.

"Greeks should understand that this is a critical and difficult negotiation, the pressure is enormous," Sakellaridis said.

Athens on Thursday agreed at an EU leaders' summit to start technical talks with eurozone partners in a bid to find common ground over the new hard-left government's plans to ditch part of the country's unpopular EU-IMF bailout.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said that he discussed with his counterparts the possibility of a six-month bridging programme to give Greece time to work out a different programme that would be acceptable to its creditors.

"Bridge of dialogue," wrote centre-left Ethnos daily while liberal Kathimerini saw a "window of opportunity for compromise." Greek stocks opened with a 7.0-per cent jump on Friday.

A meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Monday are to discuss the technical proposals in a last-ditch effort.

Greece is facing a possible exit from the euro when its 240-billion-euro (S$370-billion) EU-IMF bailout expires at the end of February.

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