EU officials deny Greece debt deal talks are foundering ahead of 20 August debt repayment

Greece must repay a €3.5 billion loan to the European Central Bank on 20 August

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The Independent Online

EU officials have defended the Greek bailout deal in Brussels after claims in a German newspaper that it had run into trouble.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told the Financial Times that talks are progressing. The spokesperson denied claims in the German newspaper Bild that a deal would not be struck by 20 August.

Greece must repay a €3.5 billion loan to the European Central Bank by that date.

“Our teams report satisfactory process,” the Commission spokesperson told the FT. “I'm not aware of anyone else who would have a better overview.”

On Thursday Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, spoke to Francois Hollande, French President, on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate the New Suez Canal, according to Reuters.

Tsipras' team in Athens gave a statement that said he and Hollande had agreed that the deal “should and could be concluded right after 15 August”. This would give the Greek government time to approve it in time to make the August 20 repayment.

Hollande told reporters in Egypt that the talks were progressing with the aim of wrapping up the deal “at the end of August”.

“For now I believe the atmosphere is right and discussions are going in the best of directions,” he added.