Euro zone agrees bailout payment to Greece

LUXEMBOURG — Greece appears poised Thursday to get the approval for more rescue money from its peers in the 19-country eurozone, as well as the broad outlines of the debt relief it could get when its bailout program ends next year.

Moscovici said he hoped enough progress will emerge at the meeting of the so-called Eurogroup to prevent Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from calling a summit of eurozone leaders to discuss debt relief for his country.

This Eurogroup meeting, he said, may be "decisive" in that it will be "very positive for Greece and the Greek people".

This time it was more about German politics and the insistence on an International Monetary Fund financial contribution while being reluctant to agree up-front the commitments on debt relief that the International Monetary Fund thinks essential to make the Greek finances sustainable.

The meeting will be held at the European Convention Centre in Kirchberg, and the Eurogroup will focus on Greece's medium-term fiscal targets beyond 2018 and the possible debt measures that may be taken.

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Most importantly for the near-term, Dijsselbloem said Greece has been cleared to get 8.5 billion euros after the Greek government delivered on a wide array of economic reforms required by creditors to get the bailout funds.

Euro zone bailout fund chief Klaus Regling said his European Stability Mechanism would disburse 7.7 billion euros in early July to cover 6.9 billion euros in maturing debt and 0.8 billion of arrears.

The issue of debt relief for Greece has sharply divided its worldwide creditors, the European Union and the global Monetary Fund, for months in the latest round of talks.

European Union officials have said Greece shouldn't rely on participating in the ECB's quantitative easing program given that it was never a certainty and have pointed out that very few of its bonds are eligible for inclusion.

An IMF contribution was politically important for Germany, especially to strengthen the perceived credibility of the bailout.

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"We cautiously believe that the goal of the programme will be reached and that Greece will again have access to the finance markets at the end of the programme", Schaeuble said.

Despite years of austerity since Greece was first bailed out in 2010, the country's debt burden still stands at about 320 billion euros (£280 billion), or around 180% of annual gross domestic product.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said he was confident that Greece will win much-needed funds at bailout talks on Thursday.

Greece has been living under austerity for more than seven years and its left-led coalition government recently legislated further cost cuts, including to pensions, in hopes of getting the long-delayed loan installment.

"We take note of the Eurogroup discussion which we see as a first step towards securing debt sustainability", a spokesman of the European Central Bank said in an emailed statement.

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As a consolation, in a compromise negotiated by France, Greece won a certain amount of clarity from the eurozone on debt relief, including an agreement to link debt repayments to Greek growth.

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