Greece fails to secure fresh bailout funds

Greece's debt burden after restructuring privately held government bonds in 2012 and three bailouts is projected at 319 billion euros this year or 176 percent of its economic output.

Monday's talks came four days after Greece's Parliament passed a major austerity bill created to save $4.5 billion in the next three years through pension cuts and tax increases.

While eurozone ministers lauded a package of economic reforms adopted by Athens last week, the International Monetary Fund argues that Greek debt levels are unsustainable and, in a split from European creditors, has refused to participate in another rescue package without a detailed element of debt reduction.

"We are very close to an overall agreement", Moscovici told France Inter radio. In his calls for substantial debt relief, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras faces resistance from Germany, where additional concessions are unpopular with an electorate called to a general election in September.

He said he would "lead the fight" for debt relief because "there's no chance (for Greece) of returning to a stable economy and society in the eurozone with the current level of debt".

"Our country. has fulfilled its obligations totally and on time", Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said ahead of the crunch talks.

But the International Monetary Fund has made more debt relief a condition of taking part in the third and latest 86-billion-euro ($94-billion) bailout, agreed two years ago.

Greece had hoped for clarity on more debt relief after legislating reforms, including painful pension cuts and tax hikes, demanded by its official creditors but the Eurogroup meeting in Brussels failed to reach an agreement.

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The same countries, however, oppose a firm commitment of debt relief for Greece, fearing the disapproval of bailout-weary voters at home.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, named last week, is joining European Union finance ministers for talks Monday and Tuesday expected to focus on Greece's debt problems.

Germany has pushed to bring the IMF back to the group of lenders as a kind of guarantee that the deal will work, and refused to agree to a new bailout loan until the fund joins.

Neither Greece's worldwide creditors, nor the German government, one of the main sponsors of the bailout, have reached an internal consensus on how to ease the heavily-indebted nation's debt burden without impairing its growth and development prospects.

"We are not talking about a new programme but the implementation of the programme agreed in 2015", Schaeuble said.

"I hope that we will reach a solution today that ends this politically", Schaeuble said on his way into the meeting.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, and Bruno Le Maire, right, Economy minister of France address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 22, 2017.

  • Rita Burton