NEWS

Lagarde, Juncker, Rehn and Schaeuble hopeful of Greek debt deal as Eurogroup starts

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she’ll work constructively with euro-area finance chiefs who are meeting in Brussels today on Greece’s bailout.

“We’re here to work very constructively to see if we can find a solution for Greece,” Lagarde told reporters as she entered the meeting. “That’s what really is our goal, our purpose and our mission.”

Greece’s debt must be sustainable, she said.

“There are good chances that we will come to a conclusive mutual solution, but I can’t be entirely sure,” Juncker told reporters before chairing a meeting of euro-area finance ministers in Brussels today. “It’s clear that Greece has delivered.”

European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn echoed Juncker’s comments, saying that Greece had shown it was “serious about fiscal measures and reforms.” Rehn added that talks with the IMF had been “constructive” and that he was confident an agreement would be reached tonight.

“The Eurogroup this evening should take the necessary decisions to restore Greek debt sustainability,» he said.

“It is essential that we decide on a set of credible measures on reducing the debt burden of Greece tonight. Furthermore, we should be ready in the coming years to take further decisions, if needed, in order to ensure there is sufficient debt sustainability in Greece.”

Asked whether an accord is likely with the International Monetary Fund on Greece’s debt sustainability, Juncker said the euro ministers are exploring “a sufficient number of bridge- building elements” to satisfy the IMF.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble advised journalists to be patient but said he hoped that differences with the IMF could be bridged so that an agreement could be announced tonight.

However, Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said there’s no certainty that euro-area finance chiefs will reach an agreement on Greece at a meeting in Brussels today.

The situation in Greece doesn’t seem to be roiling markets, Noonan told reporters as he entered the meeting.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras did not make any comment as he arrived at the meeting in Brusssels,

[Kathimerini English Edition & Bloomberg]