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No deal reached on Greek Eurozone bailout

Talks are scheduled to take place at an upcoming meeting of European finance ministers on May 22.

Germany's coalition government split along party lines on Monday over the question of debt relief for Greece ahead of a crunch meeting in Brussels to tackle the thorny issue.

The eurozone and the International Monetary Fund agreed on Monday that Greece would have to keep a primary surplus - the budget balance before debt servicing - at 3.5 per cent of GDP for five years after the bailout ends in 2018.

"Despite some disappointment this time, a deal is clearly in the making", said Lorenzo Codogno, chief economist of LC Macro Advisors. This should not "fail because of German resistance", he said.

However, Jeroen Dijsselbloem sought to downplay expectations that a debt relief package for the cash-strapped country is imminent. He said he hoped for a deal at the next eurozone meeting on 15 June.

Greek and European Union officials said that a proposed final compromise was considered too vague by the Athens delegation, which rejected the draft plan arguing it wouldn't bring sufficient certainty on the country's debt prospects.

In a tweet following the inconclusive meeting Moscovici said: "Greece is keeping its side of the bargain".

"We believe that in the coming weeks we will have the opportunity to work hard toward covering those gaps and reaching a desirable solution", he said.

Gabriel, a Social Democrat, has criticized conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's handling of the Greek debt crisis, namely his insistence that giving Greece debt relief could encourage it to forfeit necessary reforms. Greece has lost a quarter of its national output in that time.

Le Maire was due to attend the Brussels talks after a morning stop in Berlin where he met Schaeuble to discuss the future of the eurozone.

To get a new installment of bailout funds, Athens has already approved tax rises and additional pension cuts.

Referring to Britain's looming exit from the EU, Le Maire stressed France and Germany meant to seize any opportunities for their financial industries. The lack of reform and economic competitiveness is the core issue, and the Greek government needs to spur economic growth and domestic investment. He, like Dijsselbloem, said that "extra measures if required" would come after the bailout program expires next year.

The G7 summit in Sicily on Friday and Saturday (26-27 May) will be an opportunity for German chancellor Angela Merkel, the new French president Emmanuel Macron and International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde to discuss the issue.

The phone conversation was the first contact between the two since Mr Macron's election earlier this month.

France's new finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, said: "Everyone must make a step".

Greece's creditors are weighing three scenarios for easing the country's debt burden that would lead to substantially different levels of relief.


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