Greek Creditors Stall on Debt Deal

The question has served as a point of contention for months between the International Monetary Fund and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, but sources close to the negotiations said Berlin made concessions on the issue.

Germany has led several eurozone governments that have dragged their heels on tackling the debt mountain over the long term, insisting on more reforms before doing Athens further favours.

Under the terms of the Greek bailout program, the country has to enact a series of economic reforms in order to get the bailout cash.

Greece told its EU-IMF creditors Sunday there should be "no excuse" for delays to debt relief payments now that Athens has "fulfilled its obligations" with new austerity cuts.

Greece and its creditors have postponed an agreement to unblock a new disbursement from the Greek bailout and on debt relief measures.

The IMF is demanding that the eurozone provide a detailed commitment to debt relief that Greece will adopt at the end of its current bailout programme, expected at the end of 2018.

"I hope today we can come to a political solution, but naturally we cannot finalise as we still require a conformity report and other details", said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the Eurogroup's most influential member. He said he hoped for a deal at the next eurozone meeting on 15 June.

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More debt relief is also necessary for the European Central Bank to consider Greek bonds in its asset purchases program, which would ease the country's access to bond markets.

In a tweet following the inconclusive meeting Moscovici said: "Greece is keeping its side of the bargain".

Getting the IMF involved is important as Germany and The Netherlands have indicated that they will refuse to lend more money to Greece without the Fund's participation. There was no significant progress though, the official said, asking not to be identified, as the meeting was private.

Speaking alongside visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Gabriel said the Eurogroup must grant Greece debt relief in exchange for reforms demanded by its global lenders.

Poul Thomsen, director of the IMF's Europe department, said there had been progress but the euro area needed to inject "more realism" into its assumptions about Greece's long-term economic performance.

Schaeuble, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union party, has recently clashed with politicians from Germany's Social Democratic Party over his refusal to sign off on more payments to Greece without the International Monetary Fund.

Without the loans, Athens is likely to default - a bad start for a country that wants to return to market financing next year when its latest bailout, the third since 2010, ends in mid-2018. The IMF has raised doubts about Greece's ability to maintain such an optimistic budget performance for decades, while key creditors have been pushing for a more positive outlook.

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