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No deal yet on new loans, debt relief for Greece: Eurogroup head
May 22, 2017 / 10:06 PM / 5 months ago

No deal yet on new loans, debt relief for Greece: Eurogroup head

Dutch Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem meets Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (R) during a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Greece’s international lenders failed to reach a deal on Monday on additional debt relief measures for Athens after an 8-hour meeting in Brussels, the head of the eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said.

“This afternoon we had the first in-depth discussion on the topic of debt sustainability, but at this point we have not reached an overall agreement,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a news conference after the meeting.

Ministers did not agree on releasing new loans to Athens, but Dijsselbloem said work is progressing towards a next disbursement “before the summer”. Greece needs a new loan to pay debts due in July.

Dijsselbloem said that euro zone finance ministers hoped to reach a deal on disbursing more bailout funds to Greece at their next meeting on June 15.

“We will continue our work on that and try to come to a conclusion at the next Eurogroup,” he told a news conference.

EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici also said he saw a deal at the next Eurogroup meeting, in Luxembourg.

Both congratulated Athens on measures taken to meet terms set by creditors and Dijsselbloem said the International Monetary Fund, which EU governments hope will join the bailout, had also said it was impressed by Greek reforms.

Dijsselbloem said there was progress toward an agreement on making Greece’s debt more sustainable -- something the IMF has made a condition of its involvement -- but that a deal was not ready yet. And he stressed any debt relief would only be implemented at the end of the current bailout program next year.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Jan Strupczewski and Alastair Macdonald

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