Euro area finance ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting again on November 20 to finalize the payment of the next tranche of Greek aid, Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of Eurogroup said after chairing the meeting in Brussels late Monday.
Finance ministers granted Greece two extra years to meet its budget targets, although they indicated that they will hold more negotiations before nailing down a new deal, Juncker said. The additional time would leave a funding hole of around EUR 32.6 billion through 2016.
Measures to close that gap will be high on the agenda at the next meeting of ministers. The Eurogroup meeting called on the Greek authorities to implement the few remaining prior actions as a matter of urgency so as to allow for a swift conclusion of the review.
It is now unclear whether the International Monetary Fund will take part in the contribution to Greece. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said she did not agree with Juncker. She said the appropriate timetable to reduce Greece debt to 120 percent is by 2020.
According to the initial accord, the country had to achieve a primary surplus of 4.5 percent of GDP in 2014, which has now been extended to 2016.
The Eurogoup welcomed the significant progress made by Greece in the areas of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. The Greek authorities adopted a tough 2013 budget last week to gain access to the next tranche of financing worth EUR 31.5 billion from the bailout program.
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has already said that his government will run out of money by mid-November if it fails to secure the next tranche of funding.
by RTT Staff Writer
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