Eurozone ministers agree on more talks on Greek bailout

Nineteen eurozone finance ministers agree to continue talks on debt relief and budget targets for Greece as Greek business owners struggle to cope under existing austerity measures.

Photo by: Reuters Archive
Photo by: Reuters Archive

The International Monetary Fund demands further tax hikes and pension cuts before unlocking more aid for Greece. The Greek government considers the conditions as unfair.

The eurozone's 19 finance ministers have agreed that officials from the institutions overseeing Greece's bailout will return to Athens to discuss in more detail the reforms it must make.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the eurozone's top official, said on Monday that they will work with Greek authorities on an additional package of structural reforms by the cash-strapped country.

Agreeing on a package of measures involving the tax system, pensions and labour market will help unfreeze more loans for Greece from its bailout programme. Without the money, it faces bankruptcy and a potential exit from the euro this summer.

Dijsselbloem also said there was agreement to shift the focus of the policy mix away from austerity to deep reforms. That has been one of the calls of the International Monetary Fund.

The Greek government earlier said a deal will be reached without any additional cost to the Greek people.

But business owners in Athens say they're already suffering from increased taxes and health insurance payments.

TRT World's Ben Tornquist has more on the story.

For months, Greece has been negotiating with European creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on spending cuts and reforms that have been demanded as part of its third bailout programme.

Athens will soon need the latest tranche of the huge 86-billion-euro ($91 billion) bailout agreed in 2015 so it can afford to repay seven billion euros of debt in July, or else risk defaulting.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said late on Sunday that he expected the IMF to continue participating in the bailout despite the lender's doubts on the terms and Greece's ability to meet them.

"I think this will be achieved in the coming weeks," he said.

TRTWorld and agencies