Greece to get 'more clarity' about debt deal

"Optimistic", Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in a terse comment to reporters as he entered the talks, marking a clear change to the negative mood earlier in the week.

The move could be enough for Germany and the eurozone to release the next loan to Athens.

Greece's worldwide lenders prepared on Thursday to unblock as much as 8.5 billion euros (7.44 billion pounds) in loans that Athens desperately needs next month to pay its bills, and to give some idea of what debt relief they may offer over the long-term.

"We believe that we can agree a sustainable overall package", Weissgerber said on Wednesday.

"No one wants a debt cut anymore".

Greece's prime minister renewed an appeal to global lenders Wednesday to reach an agreement on easing the country's debt burden, a day before finance ministers from the euro currency bloc meet to review its bailout program.

The main objective is to reach a deal among the euro zone finance ministers but everything will depend on the ultimate stance of the International Monetary Fund and Germany. "I am quite optimistic that we will find a common solution but I can not announce the result of our negotiations today before the meeting has started".

The official was quoted as saying that if no decision was taken Thursday, Athens would ask for a eurozone leaders' summit on the sidelines of a June 22 meeting of the EU's heads of government.

This Eurogroup meeting, he said, may be "decisive" in that it will be "very positive for Greece and the Greek people".

The source explained that waiting for the German elections in September 2017 would be too risky as the whole year "will be literally lost" and the growth trend will be damaged.

Dijsselbloem also said the ministers, who were being joined at a meeting in Luxembourg by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, would seek to meet Greek and IMF demands for clarity over long-term debt relief.

Paris has proposed a mechanism of flexibility to lessen Greek debt repayment based on its economic growth.

The leftist government in Athens sees the French proposal as positive, but Berlin is far less forthcoming.

Under the Jobs and Growth Plan for Greece launched in 2015, the European Commission is working with the Greek authorities to mobilize up to 35 billion euros to help fund investment and economic activity, which is crucial in allowing Greece to return to economic growth.

"We're looking ahead to the meeting ... full of hope and expectation because we have implemented our commitments and we will continue to go down this route on the European path", Tsipras wrote in an article for the German newspaper Die Welt.

"I remain confident that we will find an agreement today on the payment of the latest tranche of Greece's bailout", Schäuble said as he arrived for talks in Luxembourg to discuss the delayed Greek bailout with his eurozone counterparts.

Greece's main opposition party, the centre-right New Democracy party (ND), which is affiliated to the EPP, said Tsipras had cornered himself by pushing for a debt agreement and that he had only imposed more austerity without taking anything back. Athens has long argued that it needs some form of debt relief for its debt to be deemed sustainable, which would in turn help it return to the global borrowing markets.

  • Leroy Wright