Published: Tue, May 23, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

French finance minister sees overall deal on Greece in June

French finance minister sees overall deal on Greece in June

The fresh reforms opened the way to unlock the latest tranche of Greece's 2015 mega-bailout so that Athens can repay a debt of 7.0 billion euros ($7.8 billion) in July.

Some nations including Germany object to a debt restructuring while also insisting that the Washington-based fund join the program to lend credibility to the bailout.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was similarly optimistic, telling reporters as he left the meeting, "It should not be beyond the wit of man to find that compromise within three weeks".

Agreement on debt was not possible because the International Monetary Fund wants the euro zone to give more detail to a declaration from May 2016 in which the ministers describe some of the actions they could take, if necessary, to keep down Greek gross financing needs.

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He said the ministers needed to consider "additional options or adjusting our expectations".

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.

The group of ministers and representatives from the four lender institutions - the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm; the European Central Bank; the International Monetary Fund; and the European Stability Mechanism - met in Brussels for nearly eight hours Monday and walked out close to midnight with few results to show.

French President Emmanuel Macron says his new administration will push for an worldwide debt relief deal for austerity-weary Greece.

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"I hope today we can come to a political solution, but naturally we cannot finalise as we still require a conformity report and other details", said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the Eurogroup's most influential member.

To secure the funds, the country has had to enact a series of economic reforms. Especially now, ahead of German elections in September, the country's leaders are wary of approving a bailout deal that voters could perceive as too risky.

Hopes were high that the eurozone could agree on the debt question and unlock cash after Greek lawmakers on Thursday fulfilled the latest demands for painful austerity measures.

"The Eurogroup held an in-depth discussion on the sustainability of Greece's public debt but did not reach an overall agreement", the euro zone ministers said in a statement.

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The IMF and Germany disagreed over Greece's economic outlook and the amount of debt relief required to assure economic stability, according to two European Union officials with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be identified because the discussion was private. He said Monday that Greece still has a few actions to undertake while the institutions overseeing the country's bailout still have to make some checks. "We've always said the final concrete decision on extra debt relief measures will come at the end of the program, which will be next year".

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