Germany eyes for International Monetary Fund aid for Greece

Officials representing the lenders will return to Athens "in the very short term" for fresh talks, said Jeroen Dijssebloem, head of the Eurogroup of 19 countries that use the euro.

Greece may need far less in bailout loans from global lenders because its finance are improving better than expected, the head the euro zone bailout fund was quoted on Monday as saying.

Greece's creditors, including the European Commission, the EU rescue fund, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have been locked in a months-long standoff over debt relief and budget targets.

Creditor officials left Athens in December after failing to sign off on the second review of Greece's bailout and freeing up new funds.

But an agreement with Greece on what reforms still need to be completed is made more hard by differences between the lenders themselves - euro zone governments and the International Monetary Fund.

European economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he was "confident" about the meeting and added that he was "hopeful that teams can return to Athens very soon".

Greece has said it can not cut pensions any further as demanded by the International Monetary Fund while some of its European lenders, led by Germany, have rejected the IMF's demand to grant it debt relief of some sort - perhaps on payments and maturity - now.

Athens said this week that it intends to reach "a political agreement in principle" with its creditors on Monday, in order to unblock loans required to repay its debts.

The measures must still be approved by the Greek parliament, most likely in mid-March, a step that has caused problems in previous deals.

The issue is sure to come up when International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday.

Greece remains dependent on bailout loans from its partners in the eurozone to pay its debts.

To make repayments more sustainable it has demanded the eurozone to reduce the debt burden. There are disagreements on those terms, notably on how tough Greece's budget targets should be. Greece's two-year borrowing rates have risen as high as 10 per cent in recent weeks while France has also come under some pressure as investors seek safety in German assets.

  • Leroy Wright