Greece seeks bailout, debt breakthroughs

Pound hit by wage disappointment signs of delay to coalition deal

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, left, speaks with from right, European Commissioner for Economy Pierre Moscovici, Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire during a meeting of eurogroup finance ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg on Thursday.

This clause allowed the International Monetary Fund to join the Europeans in May 2010 and grant a huge loan of 30 billion euros to Greece.

"I am in principle in favor of a concerted restructuring of Greek debt and in keeping Greece in the eurozone. Why?"

"I remain confident that we will find an agreement today on the payment of the latest tranche". "We wanted a full clarity for the flawless to be the enemy of the good", added Tsakalotos, that did not fail to thank the Ministry, the Greek MPs and the new French finance minister Bruno Le Maire for his hard work since he received office to persuade all sides towards a fairer conclusion for Greece.

Athens will likely have to wait for a long-desired agreement on wider debt relief, but officials said it would at least receive more "clarity" on the way ahead.

Despite years of austerity since Greece was first bailed out in 2010, the country's debt burden still stands at about 320 billion euros ($360 billion), or around 180 percent of Greece's annual gross domestic product.

Greece's worldwide lenders are expected to agree on Thursday to unblock as much as 8 billion euros in loans that Athens desperately needs to next month to pay its bills, but to leave the contentious issue of debt relief for later.

Tsakalotos said one big benefit from the deal Thursday was that future debt repayments could be linked to Greece's growth.

Dijsselbloem said the ministers, joined by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, would seek to meet Greek and IMF demands for clarity over debt relief.

Germany expects Greece and its lenders to reach a compromise deal on new loans this week and there is no guarantee Athens will get debt relief, a finance ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

In Athens, some 1,500 pensioners gathered to protest against more than a dozen rounds of pension cuts since bailout-induced austerity was enforced seven years ago.

"We can't live on 300 euros (£260)!" they chanted, with some waving sticks.

Eurogroup finance ministers committed toextendingd Greece's relief if the member state needs it and also to offer more specificity.

The IMF had insisted repeatedly that Greece's debt is not sustainable and the country would require significant debt relief from Europe before the fund could approve a new loan programme.

Dijsselbloem said he hoped the meeting will mark a "very positive step forward" that builds on "the huge effort that Greece has put in".

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

The expectation is Greece will get the roughly 7 billion euros ($7.8 billion) due, but will struggle to clinch the outlines of a debt relief deal that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras thinks is crucial for the country's economy in the long-term.

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