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Eurozone ministers meet amid fears of Greek default

The eurozone's 19 finance ministers are meeting amid speculations that Greece may be forced out of the monetary zone if a deal isn't reached soon. The Eurogroup's chief says its up to Greece to take "the next step."

Finance ministers from across the eurozone are meeting to discuss plans to end an impasse between Greece and its creditors.

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Thursday that it is now up to Greece to make concessions.

"Now the next step to make the deal credible, also financially sustainable, will have to come from the Greek side," Dijsselbloem told reporters. "Too little progress has been made and there are still some major gaps between the Greek position and the institutions."

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greece's creditors were not willing to ease their demands for additional austerity measures to be put in place.

"We're waiting for Greece to put forward proposals, which we've been waiting for some time, and waiting patiently, but the time is getting shorter," he said before Thursday's meeting. "It's up to Greece alone to fulfill what has been agreed."

The EU, European Central Bank (ECB), and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have provided Greece with bailout funds over the past five years in order to keep the EU country's economy afloat.

If Greece misses a June 30 deadline to repay the IMF 1.6 billion euros ($1.82 billion), the EU country could default on its loans, prompting a

Grexit from the eurozone

.

Differences 'not as great as people say'

The meeting comes amid growing fears of what a Grexit would mean to the

eurozone

after Greece and its creditors have failed to come to an agreement to release 7.2 billion euros ($8.2 billion) in bailout funds.

However, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said that the "differences can be overcome," adding that they are "not as great as people say," AP news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he would be offering "ideas" at the meeting that would be inline with its EU partners.

"The purpose is to replace costly discord with effective consensus," Varoufakis said.

ls/sms (AP, AFP, dpa)

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