Euro zone finance ministers are likely to struggle to convince the International Monetary Fund to join the Greek bailout by keeping the prospect of debt relief for Athens highly conditional. Sonia Legg reports.
The latest austerity measures adopted by Greece brought an angry response. But they were still passed by parliament in the hope Athens would be rewarded by its lenders with debt relief . Some even thought it would come at this week's finance ministers meeting in Brussels. But apparently not. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE, SAYING: "Of course we cannot finalise it as there is still the compliance report and other things." It seems a decision may not be made before mid-2018 - when the current bailout programme ends. Greece will simply get another payment to cover 7.3 billion euros of maturing loans in July. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER, JOHAN VAN OVERTVELDT, SAYING: "I think we have to be very careful with debt relief because when you look at interest rates or interest burden for Greece in terms of GDP is already by far the lowest within the euro area." But most economists think debt relief is vital, especially now Greece has slipping back into recession. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "It's very difficult see Greece growing at any significant rate whilst they are labouring under this three hundred and fifteen billion euro debt burden. What we have in place at the moment is not a recipe for recovery. It is what I think they term in the medical profession as palliative care." There was one encouraging piece of news for Greece. Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, reportedly said he favours debt relief - pitting him against his coalition colleague .