Monday, March 7, 2016

Brussels seeks further reform to seal Greek bailout

by Peter Spiegel

Financial Times

March 7, 2016

Eurozone finance ministers have moved to break a deadlock between Greece’s warring creditors by sending bailout negotiators back to Athens to agree a new set of economic reforms.

Despite continued disagreement over how long the list of reforms must be, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who chaired the eurogroup meeting of his 16 counterparts, insisted there was “enough common ground” between the EU and the IMF to restart the negotiations. He said mission chiefs from the bailout monitors could arrive as early as Tuesday.

“More work will have to be done in Athens,” Mr Dijsselbloem said after the Monday evening eurogroup meeting in Brussels. “It’s not going to be easy, we’re very much aware of that.”

Officials acknowledged that the IMF and the EU had not reached an agreement on how thorough the reforms must be, essentially putting off a final fight over the future of Greece’s third, €86bn rescue for at least another month.

The IMF has hinted it is willing to walk away from the bailout if it deems the reforms inadequate, a move that would plunge Greece back into economic uncertainty. Without the IMF, a German-led group of creditor countries have said they would be unable to secure parliamentary approval for their participation in the EU’s rescue, potentially scuppering the deal.

“An interim solution without the IMF would be very difficult for a number of countries, including my own,” Alex Stubb, the Finnish finance minister, said.


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