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Brüssel, Jeroen Dijsselbloem
Image: REUTERS/Y. Herman

'Progress made' but no deal on Greece

February 12, 2015

Eurozone finance ministers and Greece have been unable to agree on how to deal with Athens' debt problems. Talks are due to resume on Monday.


Talks among eurozone finance ministers ended early on Thursday in Brussels, with the group unable to strike a deal with Athens on extending its international bailout.

"We explored a number of issues, one of which was the current program," said Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem (pictured above). "We discussed the possibility of an extension. For some that is clear that is preferred option but we haven't come to that conclusion as yet. We will need a little more time."

Greek authorities are due to hold discussions in the coming days with representatives from its international creditor - the EU, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank - according to Luxembourg's Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna.

The euro jumped slightly in late trading on Wednesday amid reports on possible progress in Brussels - but was still trading around the $1.13-mark when the markets shut.

Greece entered the talks demanding a bridging loan to cover its shortfalls - while it negotiates a less austere economic plan with its creditors - while the EU wants Athens tightly bound to its previous agreements with an extension of its current bailout program.

The extension would give Athens more room to restructure its repayments without defaulting on its repayments - on international loans totaling roughly 240 billion euros ($270 billion) - and lessen fears Greece could leave the eurozone entirely. But leaving the current conditions in place would likely anger supporters of the newly elected Syriza government, voted in on a platform of forging a better deal for Greece.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said he hoped more progress would be made on Monday.

"We are ... hoping that by the end of that one, there's going to be a conclusion to the deliberations in a manner that is optimal from both the perspectives - Greece and our European partners," Varoufakis said.

jr/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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