Progress in Greek reforms, undertaken by Athens in return for
international financial aid, will be among the topics for talks
among euro zone finance ministers, called the Eurogroup, at a
meeting on Monday.
Under IMF rules, the Fund cannot disburse its part of the loans to
Greece unless it is financed 12 months ahead. But according to the
IMF, Athens is 4.4 billion euros short in 2014 and 6.5 billion short
For IMF money to flow to Greece, therefore, the euro zone will have
to affirm that Athens will get more money.
"I foresee no problem in any of the euro zone states in signing up
to this assurance of continued financing," a senior EU official with
close knowledge of the issue said.
"It is not my expectation that there will be a concrete figure to
that, but there will be a political assurance it will be
forthcoming," the official said.
Greece is not in an urgent need of funds now, the official said. It
had a primary budget surplus, so the government can finance its
current needs. Extra money will be needed only when Greece must pay
back debt, and its next big redemption date is not until mid-May,
the official said.
That creates a deadline for when Greece needs to meet all the
conditions necessary to get the next tranche of money from the euro
zone. In EU jargon, that is called "closing the review" of reform
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"We are consulting with colleagues in Washington ... at the closure
of the review there will have to be an assurance from the Eurogroup
that over the next 12-month period the program remains fully
financed," the official said.
Because of the time needed for the formalities of loan disbursement,
he said, international inspectors will have to sign off on the Greek
progress report well in advance of the mid-May redemption peak.
"It is not in anyone's interest ... to prolong the Greek review,"
the official said.
The official said there was no discussion yet on a third bailout for
Greece, which German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said might
be necessary if Greece does not regain market access at affordable
rates by 2015.
Nor were there any discussions on further debt relief to Athens, the
prospect of which was held out by euro zone finance ministers in
November 2012 on the condition, now met, that Greece should reach a
primary budget surplus, the official said.
(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski and
Martin Santa; editing by Larry King)
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