Eurozone to consider Greek debt relief

Eurozone finance ministers, the International Monetary Fund and the Greek government failed to hammer out a final deal on Greece's debt relief and chose to postpone a decision for their next meeting in mid-June.

Greece needs new credit to repay some 7.3 billion euros worth of maturing loans in July.

After the Eurogroup meeting, French finance minister Le Maire said that Germany's role had been "constructive" but that he "would be lying if [he] said that France and Germany have no difference over the sustainability of Greek debt".

Neither Greece's worldwide creditors, nor the German government, one of the main sponsors of the bailout, have reached an internal consensus on how to ease the heavily-indebted nation's debt burden without impairing its growth and development prospects.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chaired Monday night's meeting, told reporters afterwards that "we are very close" to an agreement.

Dijsselbloem said he expected a deal to be struck between Greece and its creditors at the next Eurogroup meeting in June.

One of the major stumbling blocks has centred on a divergence of opinion between the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund, which is not involved financially in Greece's current three-year bailout programme.

"I hope that we will reach a solution today that ends this politically", Schaeuble said on his way into the meeting.

Tzanakopoulos said Greece would exhaust all efforts for a clear solution on medium-term debt relief measures.

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European Union officials see chances for a deal on Monday at 50-50, and point to a meeting of euro-area finance ministry deputies ahead of the ministers' gathering, which will determine the likelihood of an accord.

"Our country by adopting the new measures through the Greek parliament has fulfilled its obligations totally and on time", Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said in a statement carried by the Athens News Agency.

The eurozone led by Germany is fundamentally against debt relief and wants to recoup as much money as possible.

Greek lawmakers approved a series of tax rises and pension cuts last week, over and above the previous dozen cuts to its national pensions since the onset of the crisis in 2010 and the crippling austerity.

While hailing recent progress the Greek authorities have made to implement the reforms and cuts demanded from creditors, Mr Dijsselbloem said certain issues still needed to be addressed.

Lenders agreed in principle in 2016 to consider debt relief but have not specified how.

Schaeuble opposes debt relief, but at the same time refuses to unlock more loans to Greece without the partnership of the International Monetary Fund, which he sees as a guarantor of financial rigour.

The eurozone's top official says a decision on whether Greece has done enough to get its hands on the next batch of rescue money that it's due from its bailout program could emerge later Monday.

Germany has pushed to bring the IMF back to the group of lenders as a kind of guarantee that the deal will work, and refused to agree to a new bailout loan until the fund joins.

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