International Monetary Fund needs euro zone assurance on Greek debt sustainability before joining bailout


Outlining aspects of the agreement reached in Valletta, the finance minister explained that there would be review of the country's fiscal course after 2018 once the Greek programme had ended in the August of that year.

The stricken country faces a €6bn debt repayment in July.

"Today we have an agreement on ... overarching elements of a policy package in terms of size, timing and sequencing of reforms", the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem told a news conference.

He said two sets of measures were on the list; a €3.6 billion ($3.8 billion) package of "positive measures" for 2019 plus reforms on real-estate taxation and income for 2020.

He said, that the Eurogroup had at the time agreed to change the strategy and the order of things whilst talks intensified to reach an agreement between the institutions and Athens over big reforms.

However, in return for getting agreement on those conditions, the Greek government will have to push through some further tough measures for the years ahead - on top of all those enacted over the past seven years.

Tsakalotos said further austerity measures demanded for 2019 - after Greece's current third bailout ends next year - will be legislated on in the next few weeks, along with Greek-proposed countermeasures to alleviate the pain.

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Entering the meeting, EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Friday's meeting was important, "since it is the moment where everybody, I say everybody, must commit to agree on the outlines of a deal".

The IMF previously said Greek's debt load is unsustainable and called for a some relief.

"We are at a point where we think there are good prospects for successfully concluding discussions on these outstanding policy issues during the next mission to Athens", IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement.

The IMF says that the fiscal targets are too hard to reach and that measures must be taken to reduce the weigh of the debt on the Greek economy.

"It is basically a discussion between Germany and the International Monetary Fund", an European Union official told EUobserver.

However, there is no scheduled date for new payments to Athens, which raises doubts about Greece's ability to repay creditors in July.

"Mr. Dijsselbloem said that it had not been his intention to insult anyone, he was open and explained that he used the wrong words and had not meant to say that", Tsakalotos said.