Germany 'confident' on deal to release funds to Greece

Germany 'confident' on deal to release funds to Greece”

Athens is set to get a payout of 8.5 billion euros to meet debt payments due in July and avoid another summer of Greek crisis.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, on Thursday unveiled a plan that will unlock some new funding for Greece. Some debt repayments could be delayed by 15 years. Also, following a recommendation from the new French government of President Emmanuel Macron, the possibility was raised of linking Greek repayments to growth, which could mean debt repayments being postponed in the event of an adverse shock.

Dijsselbloem said Thursday at the conclusion of the meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers that an agreement was forged "on all elements".

European Union Currency Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said he expects Greece and its worldwide lenders to reach a compromise deal on new loans this week and that a "fair solution" will be found on debt relief. "We wanted a full clarity for the flawless to be the enemy of the good", added Tsakalotos, that did not fail to thank the Ministry, the Greek MPs and the new French finance minister Bruno Le Maire for his hard work since he received office to persuade all sides towards a fairer conclusion for Greece.

Greece says it has done its part after legislating further pension cuts and tax hikes demanded by lenders to convince the International Monetary Fund to participate.

Weissgerber, asked by reporters whether there might be a need for heads of government to meet over the issue, said that "in this case the Eurogroup is the body that's responsible". It needs to be a "success", he added. He said the best Greece could hope for is some sort of limited debt relief deal in 2018, which will likely be agonizing to extract from Europe but still won't solve Athens' woes.

In Berlin, Juerg Weissgerber, a spokesman for Germany's finance ministry, said Schaeuble recently expressed optimism that an agreement would be reached. The country remains dependent on bailout loans from other eurozone governments.

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To bridge the wide differences in assumptions on Greek growth for the next decades, France proposed to link the size of the debt relief with Greek economic growth and euro zone ministers said they would work on that idea further.

In Athens, some 1,500 pensioners gathered to protest against more than a dozen rounds of pension cuts since bailout-induced austerity was enforced seven years ago.

"We can't live on 300 euros" they chanted, with some waving sticks.

Despite years of austerity since Greece was first bailed out in 2010, the country's debt burden still stands at about 320 billion euros (£280 billion), or around 180% of annual gross domestic product.

As a result, the main point of interest of Thursday's meeting of eurozone finance ministers is on the debt relief discussions.

According to the Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, even if Greece seemed full clarity until the end of the programme, June's Eurogroup agreement guarantees "much greater clarity for both Greek people and financial markets".

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