The Minister for Finance has said that Greece seems to be fulfilling 'all of the conditions' they were asked by the Troika, in order to secure a €31 billion tranche of bailout funds.

Michael Noonan said he hopes tonight's meeting of eurozone finance ministers goes well for them.

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 he added that he didn't expect that the decision to release the funds would be concluded tonight by eurozone finance ministers, and another meeting or a teleconference could take place later in the week.

Asked about reports that Greece would need another 32 billion euro 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 thing the Greek issue is inhibiting our talks with the ECB in any way whatsoever.'

Decision to be made on timescale

Greece's international lenders have prepared a "positive" report on the country's reform efforts.

This is a crucial step in its efforts to secure the next installment of its bailout loan, the head of the group of finance ministers from the 17 euro countries said today.

Jean-Claude Juncker said one important issue remains unresolved - how much time Greece will be given to reduce its debts to a manageable level.

Juncker said euro zone finance ministers meeting this evening in Brussels would discuss whether Greece should be given extra time to cut its debt to a sustainable level of 120% of its gross domestic product beyond the original deadline of 2020.

The report - prepared by the troika of international lenders, composed of the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, which is the European Union's executive branch - will show that Greece has made impressive efforts to implement the needed reforms, Juncker said.

"The basis is positive because the Greeks have really delivered," he said.

The issue of Greece's debt is a divisive and important one. If Greece's debts can not be reduced to a level where it no longer relies on further international bailouts, then the €240 billion in bailout loans already agreed for Greece will have been wasted.

Current projections suggest Greece is way off from reaching its 2020 debt-to-GDP deadline. Greece has been asking for more time to implement reforms and budget cuts - hoping that a slower pace will release the stranglehold such cuts have on the economy.

Without growth, Greece can not ever hope to collect enough in taxes to put a dent in its debts. But easing up on the timeline will cost more money, and politicians are nervous they will not be able to sell that to voters.

Some countries are also irritated that Greece has consistently missed the deadlines set for it. Many economists have argued that the country does not just need more time but an outright reduction in its debt, with its euro zone creditors agreeing to take losses on some of their loans.

In a sign of how contentious the issues surrounding Greece are, German officials said they do not even consider the troika's findings final. "As far as I know, this final, ultimate troika report is not there yet; only individual parts which will then flow into this final report," said Finance Ministry spokeswoman Marianne Kothe. "I think it is rather unrealistic for there to be a final decision today."