Le Maire proposes linking debt relief to growth


France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, expressed optimism on Monday, after meeting with his Greek counterpart Euclid Tsakalotos, over the outcome of Thursday’s crucial Eurogroup in Luxemburg, which will seek to wrap up a funding agreement between Greece and its international lenders.

According to reports, Le Maire, who travelled to Athens in a bid to help break the deadlock in the talks ahead of the meeting in Luxemburg, presented a proposal whereby relief measures for Greece’s mountainous debt will be strengthened when growth is weak and relaxed when growth is strong.

Greece desperately needs its next loan tranche as it has to make huge debt repayment of around 7 billion euros in July. Athens is also campaigning to convince its EU partners to spell out what sort of debt relief measures it can expect and when. Progress on the issue has been stifled by disagreements among creditors about the country's growth projections and the sustainability of its debt.

In statements on Monday after meeting Takalotos, Le Maire said he will do whatever he can so that Eurozone finance ministers reach an agreement, which, he speculated, is not far off. He added that he hoped that in the next two days the road for an agreement will be paved.