German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that “complicated” choices regarding how to close Greece’s financing gap over the next few years prevented an agreement at the Eurogroup meeting, which ended in the early hours of Wednesday.
While a senior European official initially signaled that an agreement had been reached, ministers later said the Eurogroup was only to reconvene next week.
With creditors led by Germany refusing to put up fresh money or offer debt relief, the finance chiefs were unable to scrape together enough funds from other sources to help alleviate Greece’s debt burden, set to hit 190 percent of gross domestic product in 2014.
“We have a series of options on the table on how to close the financing gap,” Schaeuble told reporters. “We discussed the issue very intensively, but since the questions are so complicated we didn’t come to a final agreement.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, gearing up for a campaign for a third term next year, has ruled out writing off a portion of Greece’s debt. Politicians in the Netherlands and Finland, also with AAA credit ratings, have told their bailout-weary voters the same thing.
Still, the creditors considered a milder form of debt reduction today with options including a reduction of interest rates on loans to Greece and a temporary suspension of interest payments.