Eurozone finance ministers, Eurogroup, met to thrash out plans over how the stricken Mediterranean country is to go forward with its staggering £75billion (€86bn) bailout programme.
And despite eurocrats going into to talks with optimism, with an EU official saying “It is our goal to reach an agreement on June 15”, disagreements soon flared between creditors and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), leaked European Commission’s notes reveal.
Greece’s biggest creditor, Germany, is at loggerheads with the IMF as Berlin is against bringing in more debt relief, while the monetary organisation insists on it.
The IMF insisted it would not commit before EU finance ministers set out further details of the plans, while Berlin continued to oppose the IMF’s insistence that Greece’s debt is so unsustainable that it needs major restructuring.
And talks really did hit a wall when a compromise – that the IMF would commit to joining the bailout if debt relief measures were implemented before – was not accepted.
After the rocky meeting, an IMF official said a deal could be reached in three weeks.
They said: ”Somebody needs to give something away. There’s confidence there will be a deal in three weeks’ time because of the time pressure.”
They admitted Greece would always be a headache for the eurozone, saying: “Let’s be honest, it will take 20 years to fix Greece.”
Monday’s meeting is set to come as a blow to Greece which is desperately trying to repay £5.24billion (€6bn) debt by a July deadline to meet bailout criteria, despite months of wrangling between finance ministers and the IMF.
It comes after the European Union (EU) released an extensive list of austerity measures, including crippling pension cuts and major tax rises, Greece must carry out before the release of the next instalment of its multi-billion-dollar bailout.
The 140 orders could devastate Athens already on its knees as it is scrambles to meet strict requirements.
The stricken Mediterranean country remains the biggest threat to the future of the EU despite seven years of gruelling recession and austerity imposed from Berlin and Brussels.
Austerity measures have plunged Greece into crisis with huge job losses and billions of euros cut from budgets.
And Greece’s crumbling position has raised fears that the country could still collapse, dragging the Euro currency down with it. The next Eurogroup meeting is scheduled for June 15.