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Greek Debt Deal Delayed as 15-Year Extension Fails to Lure IMF

Greek Debt Deal Delayed as 15-Year Extension Fails to Lure IMF”

After more than eight hours of talks in Brussels, finance ministers from the single currency bloc and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were unable to secure an agreement on the sort of debt relief measures the Athens government can expect when its current bailout program ends next year.

Euro-area finance ministers committed last May to a set of potential measures to ease the repayment terms on Greek bailout loans after the end of the program in 2018, but the degree to which these measures will be implemented is still a subject of contention.

The meeting in Brussels ended without an agreement on disbursing new loans to Greece, which the country will need to pay debts due in July.

Speaking alongside visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Gabriel said the Eurogroup must grant Greece debt relief in exchange for reforms demanded by its worldwide lenders.

Neither Greece's global creditors, nor the German government, one of the main sponsors of the bailout, have reached an internal consensus on how to ease the heavily-indebted nation's debt burden without impairing its growth and development prospects.

"We indeed did not conclude, but our work will not be wasted", said EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici after the marathon talks.

Another attempt at a deal on Greece's soaring debt will be made at the next scheduled meeting on June 15.

Conditions for receiving the 86-billion-euro (about 96.6 billion US dollars) bailout include a number of measures and reforms that Greece has pledged to implement in order to address its current economic challenges.

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The European Union's top economy official says a deal to unlock further financial help and debt relief for Greece is near and may emerge at a meeting of finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone. In other words, this is a familiar game of chicken, as the International Monetary Fund seeks a credible, upfront German commitment to Greek debt relief as a condition of joining the bailout, while Schauble pursues a "details later" deal to get the International Monetary Fund on board without obligating Germany.

The IMF forecasts for Greece's debt needs "are not in line with those from the European institutions", he added.

On May 21, Greece's Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said: "Our country... has fulfilled its obligations totally and on time".

More debt relief is also necessary for the European Central Bank to consider Greek bonds in its asset purchases program, which would ease the country's access to bond markets.

"The IMF has a debt sustainability analysis that can not be brought in line with the European institutions", Schaeuble said.

The EU agreed an €86bnrescue package for Greece in July 2015, an unprecedented third bailout that stopped the country from crashing out of the eurozone.

"The German finance ministry does not want to specify mid-term debt [relief] measures to the extent required by the IMF", Tzanakopoulos said.



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