European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas on Tuesday urged Greece’s international creditors to “reach an understanding” on demands from Athens and the International Monetary Fund for a lightening of the country’s massive debt burden.
“The Commission is convinced that Greece has delivered and it is now up to its partners to do the same,” Schinas told a regular press briefing in Brussels in reference to a recent slew of measures passed through Parliament in Athens to meet creditor demands.
The closure of the second bailout review “is within reach,” Schinas said, calling on “everybody to do what’s necessary so the outcome is successful.”
“The second review is strategic for Greece, as it not only delivers on key reforms necessary to modernize the Greek economy, but also secures a credible fiscal path for the years to come,” the Commission spokesman said. “It is now time for all partners to reach an understanding on the question of Greece’s debt in the coming weeks.”
Greece has just a few days ahead of the next meeting to eurozone finance ministers on June 15 to prepare a new proposal to put to creditors, and Germany in particular, on making its debt sustainable so it can tap international markets at the end of the current program in late 2018.
“Work will continue in the framework agreed in May 2016, with a view precisely to reaching this conclusion in the next Eurogroup meeting,” Schinas said.
The European official, however, declined to respond to comments made by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s to Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper on Tuesday suggesting a deal whereby the Fund would stay on board in the bailout, as Berlin wants, but not pay out further aid until debt relief measures are clarified.
“We never comment on comments,” Schinas said.
Greece needs to pay some 7 billion euros in maturing debt in July, which it will not be able to do unless eurozone finance ministers approve the disbursement of a new installment under the country’s current 86-billion-euro bailout program.
“There can be a program in which the disbursement only takes place when the debt measures have been clearly outlined by the creditors,” Lagarde said on Tuesday.