July 22, 2018

Euro zone asked to prepare for Greek debt relief talks in April

EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici

The head of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem asked euro zone finance ministers meeting on Monday to prepare to start talks on debt relief for Greece in April, a euro zone official said.

Talks on the debt relief can only start once Greece’s lenders — euro zone governments and the International Monetary Fund — agree that the country has delivered on reforms pledged in August in exchange for cheap loans.

This reform assessment, called the first review, stalled in February over details of the politically very difficult pension reform and because of diverging views between the euro zone and the IMF on how to make the economy and debt sustainable in the longer term.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici told reporters before the ministerial meeting he expected the ministers to decide on Monday to send the reform review team back to Greece.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he would support sending the team already this week. Two euro zone officials, who asked not to be named, said the lenders’ representatives may set out already on Tuesday.

“The lenders mission will return to Athens on Tuesday,” a Greek government official said.

“Dijsselbloem told the euro zone finance ministers that they should prepare for debt talks to start in April,” a euro zone source said.

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