No deal reached on Greek Eurozone bailout
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 23, 2017,
May 23, 2017, 9:15
"I expect and I am working on a deal today but it will not be the end deal", Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said as he arrived for talks.
Greece doesn't have a large maturity deadline until July, when about 7 billion euros in obligations come due, but delaying the resolution of the program review adds to months of uncertainty that have taken their toll on the Greek economy - which has slipped back into recession - and kept the country from returning to the bond market.
"Both are possible and both perhaps should be done, and that I think will bring us to a more positive and definite positive conclusion at the next Eurogroup in June", Mr Dijsselbloem said.
The IMF has argued that the eurozone forecasts underpinning the Greek bailout are too rosy and that the country should get substantial debt relief so it can start growing on a sustainable basis following a depression that has seen the economy shrink by a quarter and unemployment and poverty levels rise sharply.
Representatives of Greece's global creditors on Monday night remained locked in talks at a Eurogroup meeting in Brussels where both bailout funding and the debt question were on the table.
While eurozone ministers lauded a package of economic reforms adopted by Athens last week, the International Monetary Fund argues that Greek debt levels are unsustainable and, in a split from European creditors, has refused to participate in another rescue package without a detailed element of debt reduction.
French President Emmanuel Macron says his new administration will push for an global debt relief deal for austerity-weary Greece. The European Commission is one of the monitors of Greece's bailout program. The IMF reportedly asked for more debt relief for Greece, wishing to ensure the sustainability of the country's debt.
The left-led Greek government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had hoped that a package of measures, including further spending cuts and economic reforms, passed by lawmakers last week, would have been enough to break the logjam at Monday's meeting and allow the so-called eurogroup to release the next bailout installment.
The new delay on fresh aid and debt relief will infuriate the Greek government, which pushed through the tough reforms to be ready for Monday's talks.
Under the first scenario Greece will grow at 1.3 percent in the long run and its primary surplus will be on average 2.6 percent of gross domestic product.
Germany and France are Greece's biggest lenders. On Monday, Macron spoke to Tsipras and according to his office stressed "his determination to find an accord soon to lighten the burden of Greek debt over the long term".
France's new finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said: "Everyone must make a step".
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.