Top EU officials eye deal by end-May as technical-level talks make gradual progress

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Yanis-VaroufakisDr. Yanis Varoufakis is the Greek Finance Minister and formerly Professor of Economic Theory and Director of the Department of Political Economy within the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the University of Athens

As Greek government officials expressed their confidence that a deal with the country’s creditors is close, top European officials indicated Tuesday that although there has been progress in negotiations, an agreement is unlikely before the end of the month.

In comments during an interview with Star channel that began late on Monday and finished in the early hours of yesterday morning, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he believed a deal was likely “in about a week.” At around the same time the so-called Brussels Group of negotiators were pondering a Greek proposal for overhauling value-added tax rates. According to government sources, progress has been achieved on the technical level with the two sides converging on a primary surplus target for this year of about 1 percent of gross domestic product. Differences remain however on the issues of pension and labor reform. Another teleconference was due late last night with face-to-face talks expected to take place in Brussels Wednesday.

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