Eurogroup to discuss Greek debt

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Under the terms of the agreement, Greece has got to keep a 3.5 percent of GDP budget surplus before debt servicing costs over several years starting in 2018, according to Reuters.

The issue is sensitive in Germany, where more debt relief for Greece is widely seen as a vote loser in the run-up to parliamentary elections in September.

Greece is seeking to persuade its creditors in Europe that it has done enough to receive another chunk of bailout loans and a commitment on alleviating Athens' hefty debt burden.

The Eurogroup also said at the time it would consider replacing more costly International Monetary Fund loans to Greece with cheaper euro zone credit and transfer the profits made from a portfolio of Greek bonds bought by euro zone national central banks back to Athens.

Greece has seen its national output fall by a quarter since it was plunged into crisis more than seven years ago, and the latest setback leaves it even further from bringing its huge debt pile under control.

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Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos told the Athens News Agency that Greece "has fulfilled its obligations totally and on time".

Greece's debt stands at a towering 180 percent of annual output, the legacy of a crisis that brought panic to the markets and almost forced the country out of the eurozone.

Euro-area finance ministers gather in Brussels on Monday to try to clinch a deal on easing Greece's debt burden, which would resolve a stalled review of the country's bailout and pave the way for a new set of rescue loans.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras earlier this month grudgingly accepted the need to legislate spending cuts and weakened tax breaks to unlock the cash and win debt relief. "We've always said the final concrete decision on extra debt relief measures will come at the end of the program. which will be next year".

The discussion will be "rather hard and long", the diplomat said.

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The question has served as a point of contention for months between the International Monetary Fund and the eurozone's most influential official, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

"I feel a strong willingness by all parties without exception to reach an overall deal", the EU's Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in a news briefing.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, and Bruno Le Maire, right, Economy minister of France address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting in Berlin, Germany, Monday, May 22, 2017.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, named last week, is joining European Union finance ministers for talks Monday and Tuesday expected to focus on Greece's debt problems.

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