Spain confident Greek debt deal can still be reached

29th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said Monday he expects Greece will be able to reach an agreement with its bailout creditors before Tuesday night when its existing aid programme ends.

"There is still time, Greece's second programme expires on Tuesday night, which means we still have 48 hours and I think negotiations can still take place," he told public radio RNE.

"I don't exclude that there could be an agreement between now and this deadline, that is at midnight on Tuesday," he added.

If the deadline passes and a new aid programme for Greece is needed, "everything becomes much more complicated", he told a news conference later on Monday following an emergency meeting of the government's economic affairs committee called by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

It would be better for Greece to continue to be a part of the eurozone since an exit would be "much worse, especially for Greek society, De Guindos added.

Greek authorities ordered Athens' stock market to remain closed Monday, alongside a decision to shut the country's banks for a week and impose capital controls.

The drastic measures to protect Greece's banking system against the threat of mass panic came after the European Central Bank said it would not increase its financial support to Greek lenders, despite early signs of a chaotic bank run.

Spain was battered by the global financial crisis and only emerged from a double-dip recession at the end of 2013.

Its economy has grown for the past seven quarters although the jobless rate remains high at 23.8 percent, the highest in the European Union after Greece.

De Guindos, one of the frontrunners to take over the presidency of the Eurogroup of finance ministers this year, said the economic situation in Greece and Spain were not comparable.

"The situation in Spain is very different," he said.

"The situation of our banks has nothing to do with what it was three years ago, the same goes for our fiscal deficit," the minister said, before adding that "Spain is well prepared."

De Guindos said his government may raise its economic growth forecast which currently sees growth of 2.6 percent in 2015 and 2016.

The Bank of Spain is more optimistic, predicting growth of 3.1 percent for this year and of 2.7 percent in 2016.

© 2015 AFP

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