No accord yet on Greek debt payment, EU sources say

No accord yet on Greek debt payment, EU sources say

Greece stands little chance Monday that its eurozone peers will hand over two billion euros due under a third debt bailout amid differences over the austerity measures demanded in return, EU sources said.

"I do not think it will get the green light," one of sources told AFP Friday as officials prepared for a regular eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels.

Greece will likely dominate discussions, as it has done many times during tortuous negotiations over the past five years to keep it afloat and in the 19-nation eurozone.

Creditors the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund agreed an 86-billion-euros ($96 billion) debt rescue in July but set tough conditions requiring Athens to cut spending, raise taxes and modernise the economy.

Two earlier bailouts, in 2010 and 2012, totalled 240 billion euros and more than 100 billion more in a private sector debt write-off, but Greece struggled to meet the stringent austerity and reform conditions.

EU economic affairs spokeswoman Annika Briedthardt said: "Monday’s Eurogroup meeting is an opportunity to take stock of progress."

"Once the assessment is concluded, it will be up to the member states to make a decision on disbursement," Briedthardt said.

EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday on a visit to Athens that while there were several issues still to be resolved, he was confident of reaching agreement.

"With the spirit of compromise, I believe that well find a compromise by the end of the week, in order that the Eurogroup (on Monday) will be a success," Moscovici said.

Among the areas still in dispute are creditor demands that Athens implement measures to facilitate home loan foreclosures, so as to help clear up bad debt held by the banks.

The government is reluctant for fear of generating a popular backlash if it is seen to be making life even more difficult for vulnerable households.

Greece received a first tranche of 13 billion euros in new bailout funds in August.

It was expecting disbursement of another two billion euros in October but the eurozone withheld the funds until the remaining issues were resolved. [AFP]

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