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EU says will not sign off on Greece bailout review on Thursday

Reuters

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers will not sign off on a review of Greece's bailout reforms at a meeting on Thursday, but they hope to do so as soon as possible, EU Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

"We will see how we can move to a swift conclusion... but this obviously cannot be achieved on Thursday," he told journalists in Dublin. "We hope it can be done as soon as possible."

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels on Thursday afternoon and the progress of reforms, in return for which Athens gets cheap loans from euro zone governments, will be at the top of their agenda.

The ministers will also discuss the implementation of short-term debt relief measures agreed at their last meeting in December and later suspended because of concerns that Greece might miss agreed reform targets.

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The short-term debt relief steps, which should lead to a cumulative reduction of Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio of around 20 percentage points until 2060, were unblocked on January 20.

"That is a very good decision after exchanges of views and commitments by the Greek government, because as soon as Greece takes its responsibilities, then we, the partners of Greece, need to take ours," Moscovici said.

Once euro zone ministers are satisfied that Greece has completed the set of reforms agreed for this stage of the bailout, they will unblock the payment of further loans to Athens.

The approval is now stuck because of differences over labor and energy reforms as well as on fiscal targets and debt relief measures beyond 2018.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels; editing by Mark Heinrich)

 
 
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