Greece: EU and International Monetary Fund in 'common position'


The meetings come after the IMF agreed to send technical inspectors back to Athens next week to resume talks with European and Greek officials though it remains unclear whether the Fund will join Greece's third bailout.

"Most of the reforms have been necessary and could prove beneficial for the Greek economy in the long run", said George Pagoulatos, professor of European politics and economy at the Athens University of Economics.

Earlier on Tuesday German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble accused Greece of using the debt issue as "an excuse" for not focusing on what he said should be Athens's top priority, implementation of reforms agreed with its lenders.

The IMF declined to comment on a German magazine report on Friday that it was likely to contribute up to 5 billion euros ($5.3 billion) to a third bailout package for Greece, saying its views on the deal had not shifted.

If everything had gone to plan for Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, he would be talking right now about the Dutch economy being the star of the eurozone.

"They will work with the Greek authorities on an additional package of structural reforms of the tax system, pension system and labour market regulation".

"There must be for the Greek people - I know them well and I feel really a friend of this country - a light at the end of the tunnel of austerity, " said Pierre Moscovici.

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The talks now appear set to continue during election campaigns in the Netherlands and France, which euro zone officials have said may make a final deal more hard.

Eurogroup Working Group President Thomas Wieser told Euractiv Germany that he remains confident the International Monetary Fund will participate in the Greek bailout programme and that "Grexit" is not even an issue.

"It is a very positive and good step that the institutions have enough confidence and a common agreement to go back to Athens", he added.

Amid this deadlock, more and more voices can be heard, including from within Greece, asking for an exit from the eurozone.

Hours before the EuroGroup meeting in Brussels, the leader of the German SPD party and former European Parliament Martin Schulz said anyone who turned Europe and Germany against each other were committing a sin against the future of the country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker in Berlin on Wednesday, in hopes of making further progress. "I assume that can be achieved in the coming weeks".

The country is in dire need of bailout cash to meet debt repayment of more than Euro 7 billion due in July, or risk default.