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Principale » Greece to get 'more clarity' about debt deal

Greece to get 'more clarity' about debt deal

15 Juin 2017

During a visit to Athens this week, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, "I wanted to underline that we are doing our best with the other member states of the eurozone, with the International Monetary Fund, with the Greek government, and I'm optimistic, I think we are not far from an agreement".

Given that the Greek government has delivered on a wide array of economic reforms that were required for the payout of the next instalment of rescue loans, the main focus of Thursday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers is on the debt relief.

Conflicting messages flying back and forth ahead of a Eurogroup meeting on Thursday suggest that the outcome of crucial debt talks with Greece could go either way, with Germany apparently unwilling to concede any further debt cuts to Athens.

The country remains dependent on bailout loans from other eurozone governments.

In the bailout deal, Greece's European creditors had promised to provide cash and find a way to lighten the country's long-term debt load, as long as it keeps a lid on spending and deeply reforms the economy. "The figure will only come right at the end of the program".

Germany expects Greece and its lenders to reach a compromise deal on new loans this week and there is no guarantee Athens will get debt relief, a finance ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

"For Greece, as before, I am confident that we will reach a deal about the payment of the next tranche today", Schaeuble said on arrival at the meeting.

International Monetary Fund participation in the bailout, even without immediate disbursements, would be enough for the German parliament to back new euro zone loans to Athens, thus ensuring Greece would get enough cash in July to repay maturing debt and avoid default.

But some euro zone scenarios show that with sufficiently high economic growth and fiscal discipline - a primary surplus above 3 percent of GDP for 20 years - Greece would not need any extra debt relief.

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"Hopefully differences will narrow enough so that it can help the process", Lagarde said on entering the talks.

To bridge the gap, France is proposing to link debt relief to Greece's GDP growth with an automatic formula.

"It's a mechanism which should allow us to revise certain (debt) parameters based on Greek growth", he told reporters.

"My proposal, the French proposal, is of course still on the table", French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

Greeks, Tsipras wrote, are "full of hope and expectation for this meeting of finance ministers".

The Fund's participation in the package is a vital precondition for the German and Dutch parliaments - without it, the program could collapse. "Now it is time for the Europeans to comply with their commitments on debt relief", Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said in an interview with German business daily Handelsblatt.

It faced more criticism Thursday when more than 2,000 elderly protesters marched through central Athens to demonstrate against further pension cuts.

A Greek government source welcomed the Commission's optimism for a positive outcome but cautioned: "We have not seen anything in particular yet".

Greece to get 'more clarity' about debt deal