Bailout deal not likely till January, EU official says

3 December 2016
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Government officials are gearing up for a long-awaited summit of eurozone finance ministers on Monday where the prospects for Greek debt relief are expected to be discussed, but a European official has told Kathimerini that it is more likely a concrete solution will be hashed out in January.

According to the official, Athens can expect an initial discussion of debt relief prospects on Monday with European Stability Mechanism chief Klaus Regling likely to present finance ministers with the proposals for short-term debt relief that are being considered by the ESM and Greece’s Public Debt Management Agency.

Sources indicate that all countries have backed the proposed measures, even nations such as Spain, Portugal and Ireland, which had in the past expressed reservations about how much they would be affected, but also Germany, which, as Europe’s austerity champion, has been very reluctant to agree to debt relief for Greece.

Eurozone officials meeting on Monday are also expected to discuss the fiscal outlook for Greece, with a particular focus on primary surplus targets.

The International Monetary Fund has indicated that it will only consider joining Greece’s third bailout if primary surplus targets are lowered or more fiscal measures are planned to bridge the budget gap.

It is also waiting for European officials to confirm details of the debt relief they plan to offer Greece.

According to sources, the IMF wants the Greek government to legislate 4.2 billion euros in additional austerity measures for after 2018.

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