No ‘Plan B’ for Greece in debt talks, top EU official says

BERLIN (Reuters) – A top EU official urged Athens and its creditors to make progress in their talks on a cash-for-reform deal on Monday, warning there was no “Plan B” in the event of a Greek default.

“What we now need is real progress,” Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

When asked whether there was a “Plan B” for the case of Athens defaulting, Timmermans replied: “No, there is no ‘Plan B’ for Greece.”

“If you work on a ‘Plan B’, you basically have given up ‘Plan A’,” he said, adding that all parties involved should do everything to conclude the negotiations with Greece successfully.

Greece’s leftist-led government, elected earlier this year on promises to end austerity policies, has dragged its feet on implementing unpopular reforms promised by a previous government under the country’s EU/IMF bailout program.

The country faces the risk of defaulting on debt repayments and being forced out of the euro zone, but negotiations have moved so slowly that the lenders have ruled out an agreement at next Monday’s meeting of euro zone finance ministers.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said he does not expect Monday’s Eurogoup meeting to seal a deal and warned against a Greek default.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the group of finance ministers of countries that use the euro, said last week Europe was prepared for any outcome to the standoff.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Andrew Roche)

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