Eurozone finance ministers have agreed on short-term debt relief measures for Greece, but remain divided on the country’s fiscal targets and the reforms needed to reach them.
Ministers also confirmed a set of measures to be implemented before 2018 to reduce Greece’s debt mountain, worth 180% of the country’s GDP. However, other members of the Greek ‘troika’, namely the International Monetary Fund, believe more substantial relief is needed.
But the parties could not reach a consensus on how to implement prescribed reforms to the labour market and other measures to boost growth and competitiveness, or how long fiscal targets should last.
Under the bailout terms, Greece has to achieve a budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP by 2018 – a figure the IMF also argues is too high with the current debt burden. Ministers said this should be maintained for the “medium term”, but views on exactly what this means ranged from three to 10 years.
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup and Dutch finance minister, said that they would defer discussions on this matter until the current bailout programme ends in 2018. The possibility of any further debt relief for Greece will also not be tabled until…