Greece Debt Relief Up in Air

ATHENS – After agreeing to another 5.4 billion euros ($6.1 billion) in austerity to get more monies from a delayed third bailout of 86 billion euros ($97.31 billion), Greece’s beleaguered government is still pushing international creditors to provide debt relief.

A meeting of the Euro Working Group (EWG), made up of the technocrats that advise the Eurozone finance ministers, couldn’t agree on the issue, Kathimerini said, further crimping Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ hopes.

The disagreement jeopardizes the role of the International Monetary Fund, which, along with the European Union, European Central Bank and European Stability Mechanism makes up the EU-IMF-ECM-ESM Quartet of creditors.

The IMF wants to be paid in full but wants the EU to take the hit on debt relief and said without that there is almost no chance Greece can pay what it owes. An EU official told the paper the differences between the creditors are “huge” and still being battled over.

The Eurogroup will meet on May 24 in hopes of a compromise that will clear the way for Greece to get another 5.7 billion euros ($6.45 billion) in loans, most of which go back to the same creditors and banks in a perpetual cycle of borrowing money to pay previous loans without money going to the Greek society.

Another 3.5 billion euros ($3.96 billion) could be released later as Greece needs to repay the Quartet more than two billion euros in July.

European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said that medium- and long-term debt relief measures would not be finalized by May 24 but that a “roadmap” of steps to reduce Greece’s repayments would be ready, with the aim of convincing the IMF to retain its role in the Greek program.