Draghi: 'More work needed now' by Greece for debt deal

WASHINGTON (AFP) - European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said Saturday that Greece needs to do much more, and urgently so, on an acceptable plan to gain further EU financing.

With the clock ticking on Greek negotiations with the European Union for the release of another €7.2 billion (S$10.4 billion) bailout funds, Draghi said the framework for bailout financing going ahead remains lacking.

He said Athens must come up with a framework that can be used by creditors to assess the impact of any of its domestic policy proposals.

"More work, much more work is needed now and it's urgent," he said in Washington on the side of the spring IMF-World Bank meetings.

"We all want Greece to succeed. The answer is in the hands of the Greek government."

Greek negotiators were meeting in Paris Saturday with representatives of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to try to work out a deal ahead of the 24 April meeting of the Eurogroup finance ministers in Riga, Latvia.

The Greek government needs new financing urgently to pay salaries at the end of the month and then make a series of debt payments to the International Monetary Fund and the ECB over the next three months.

While part of the talks have focused on how much more belt-tightening and reforms Athens needs to undertake in exchange for EU funding, Draghi said what is lacking is a framework to assess how policy changes will affect the country's fiscal balance and debt sustainability going forward.

The framework has to measure the policy impact on economic growth, fairness, fiscal stability, and financial stability, he underscored.

"Any government is free to choose what they can do," he said.

"We have to have an overall framework... we have to have a methodology in place whereby which we can assess the quantitative impact, the fiscal impact of these proposals."

"At this point in time is to have in place a framework that allows a well-informed political discussion by the Eurogroup and the Greek government."

Asked if Greece could default on its huge debt, Draghi replied: "I don't want to even contemplate such an event... The Greek leaders repeatedly state that they want to honor all their obligations."

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