Man walks past abandoned businesses in central Athens
Athens - AFP
Greece will meet its financial obligations to the IMF and pay workers' salaries and pensions next week, a government source said, easing speculation that Athens could default on its debts with unknowable consequences for global markets.
"Everything that should be paid next week, the IMF (International Monetary Fund), wages, pensions, will be," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Greece has a deadline of April 9 to pay the IMF 460 million euros ($500 million) to meet the conditions of its loan agreement, and speculation had been rife it would fail to pay if forced to choose between workers and the institution.
Another source told AFP that the payment of 250 million euros in interest due later this month and the question of 2.4 billion euros' worth of government bonds due to mature on April 13 and 17 were also no longer sources of anxiety for the hard-left administration of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Experts from the IMF and the European Union are scrutinising a list of economic reforms proposed by Athens in a bid to unlock another 7.2 billion euros in loans to stave off possible bankruptcy and a euro exit.
Athens has already been sharply pressed to meet its monthly payments in salaries, pensions and debt servicing without the bailout funds, and has proposed to levy higher taxes on the rich, as well as measures to tackle tax evasion and illegal fuel and cigarette smuggling.
But its creditors are still pushing for pension cuts and civil service layoffs, as well as a number of key privatisations that the government in January said it would block.
Two meetings of eurozone experts are due to take place next week on the topic of Athens' finances.
Reducing Greece's debt -- which in 2014 reached 176 percent of national output -- is among the main priorities of Tsipras's Syriza party.
Since 2010, Athens has received two successive loans from the EU and the IMF totalling 240 billion euros in exchange for tough austerity measures.