Eurozone finance ministers fail to reach agreement on the next batch of bailout aid for Greece

Tuesday 13 November 2012 11.48
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Spanish Finance Minister Luis De Guindos  speaks with Michael Noonan next to IMF MD Christine Lagarde
Spanish Finance Minister Luis De Guindos speaks with Michael Noonan next to IMF MD Christine Lagarde
Michael Noonan speaking to Greece's finance minister Yannis Stournaras at a meeting in July
Michael Noonan speaking to Greece's finance minister Yannis Stournaras at a meeting in July
Finance ministers will discuss Greek bailout
Finance ministers will discuss Greek bailout

Eurozone finance ministers have ended their meeting in Brussels without reaching a final agreement on the next batch of bailout aid for Greece.

The head of the eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker, said the finance ministers hoped to reach a final agreement at an extraordinary meeting to be held 20 November.

Mr Juncker praised the reforms and budget cuts made by Greek authorities.

The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and EU's monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, also praised Greek reforms.

Mr Rehn added that the meeting discussed giving the country two more years to 2022 to reform its economy.

The officials said Greece has only a few more actions it needs to take before getting the next €31.5bn installment of its bailout loan.

They did not specify the actions.

Earlier, the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said that Greece seems to be fulfilling "all of the conditions" they were asked by the Troika.

Speaking on arrival at the meeting in Brussels, Mr Noonan said Greece has made steady progress this week and passed a budget last night with "a lot of very serious measures".

However, Mr Noonan said that he did not expect the decision to release the funds would be concluded tonight by eurozone finance ministers.

He said another meeting or a teleconference could take place later in the week.

Asked about reports that Greece would need another €32bn if given an additional two years to achieve its restructuring deadline, Mr Noonan said he was waiting to see what proposals would come from the EU and IMF to tackle the funding gap.

He dismissed suggestions of infighting between the European Commission and IMF over the Greek programme.

The minister maintained that his colleagues were "beginning to have the view" that austerity alone will not put Europe back on the path towards creating growth and jobs.

Mr Noonan said he wanted to see "the flesh put on the bones" of a commitment given last June by EU leaders to create jobs and growth - a central theme of the upcoming Irish Presidency of the EU.

Asked if the conclusion of a deal on Greece would free-up the ECB to reach an agreement with Ireland on the Anglo-Irish promissory note, Mr Noonan said: "I don't think the Greek issue is inhibiting our talks with the ECB in any way whatsoever."

Greek MPs voted through a new round of austerity measures by just three votes last week.

However, the required changes to the 2013 budget were approved last night by a majority of 167 votes to 128.

Keywords: greece, eurozone