EU’s Moscovici says Greek debt relief deal ‘very close’

EU’s Moscovici says Greek debt relief deal ‘very close’

European Commissioner for economic affairs Pierre Moscovici on Friday said negotiators are "very close" to reaching a debt-relief deal for cash-strapped Greece.

Athens is battling to win debt relief from its European Union creditors, arguing that its burden of loan repayments is too hefty to be sustainable, but Germany has deeply opposed such a move.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem has said he wants a deal on relief for the debt-wracked country at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Tuesday.

"We are approaching a crucial moment in these discussions and I am confident and hopeful that we can reach a positive conclusion because it is simply in everyone's interest to do so," Moscovici told a news briefing at a G7 finance ministers meeting in Japan.

"We're very close, very, very close."

There is general public distaste in Germany, Europe's biggest economy and effective paymaster, for the 86-billion-euro ($96 billion) bailout programme for Greece.

Through a series of painful labour market reforms over the years and tight fiscal policy, Germany has managed to bring its own public finances back into the black, and many believe that Greece should do likewise.


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