Greek PM renews call for lenders to tackle Greece’s debt

Greek PM renews call for lenders to tackle Greece's debt

On Thursday, the IMF agreed to offer Athens a standby arrangement of less than $2 billion but won’t be disbursing any of the funds until euro zone countries offer more detail on potential debt relief measures in 2018, Reuters reported.

The Eurogroup agreed to distribute a long-delayed bailout payment worth up to 8.5 billion euros (9.47 billion US dollars) to Greece, the Eurogroup Chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in Luxembourg on Thursday. “With unity and determination we move forward [to achieve] fair growth and heal the wounds of the crisis”, Tsipras said in a tweet after midnight.

A spokesman for Schaeuble told a government news conference on Wednesday he expected agreement on a sustainable overall package at Thursday’s meeting, but said there was no guarantee that Athens would get debt relief.

The IMF has so far refused to join in this bailout, Greece’s third since 2010, because it believes that without relief Greece can not get out from under its massive debt mountain.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone’s top official, said Greece has been cleared to get 8.5 billion euro (£7.4 billion), which will allow it to meet a big repayment hump this July.

A full agreement would away agreement on debt relief from Greece’s European creditors that the global financial agency has demanded.

Finance ministers from the eurozone are meeting Thursday to decide whether to unfreeze the latest installment of Greece’s rescue loans and provide clarity over any debt relief measures they will provide.

The IMF, which took part in Greece’s two first bailouts, has long insisted that more debt relief was a necessary step to put the economy back on track.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, speaks with from right, European Commissioner for Economy Pierre Moscovici, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire during a meeting of eurogroup finance ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg on Thursday, June 15, 2017.

The euro zone has been reluctant to commit to concrete debt relief numbers now because it argues that if Greece does all that is required of it and keeps a high primary surplus – the budget before debt servicing costs – for decades, it may not need any debt relief at all.

To soften the blow on debt relief, France has asked its eurozone partners to offer Athens a commitment to debt relief linked to Greece’s economic growth.

During a meeting in May a year ago, Greece and the institutions outlining short, medium and long-term debt measures for the beleaguered country reached an agreement.

German opposition politicians also criticised Schaeuble by honing in on the fact that the International Monetary Fund is likely to participate in the third bailout, but will only disburse any loans when debt measures have been clearly outlined.

“We can’t live on 300 euros (£260)!” they chanted, with some waving sticks.

He said ahead of the meeting of the so-called eurogroup: “Today, we will give more clarity to Greece”.

The Greek government will receive €8.5 billion in bailout cash to cover its dues in July and handle any unpaid bills that are owed to the private sector.