No aid for Greece in sight despite 2013 austerity budget

Business

Euro zone governments will not agree to disburse more money to debt-ravaged Greece on Monday, despite the country approving a tough 2013 budget, because there is not yet a consensus on how to make its debts sustainable into the next decade.

Finance ministers gathered in Brussels should, however, give Athens two more years to make the budget deficit cuts demanded of it, a concession that will require funding of around 32 billion euros, according to a draft document prepared for the meeting. Loans have been held up since Athens, which has received two bailout packages from the euro zone and IMF, went off-track with promised reforms and budget cuts, partly as a result of holding two elections in the space of three months earlier this year.

The Greek parliament passed an austerity budget for 2013 late on Sunday and a structural reform package last Wednesday, meeting the conditions for the release of the next tranche of 31.5 billion euros of emergency loans from the euro zone.

But officials said the money would not be released since ministers are waiting for the European Commission, the IMF and the European Central Bank, together known as the troika, to present their 'debt sustainability analysis'. As a result, the ministers may have to talk again later this week, either face-to-face or by teleconference.

There won't be any definitive decisions today, but I think the general feeling is that we would like the next disbursement to done in the most efficient way possible, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he wanted to hear what troika inspectors had come up with during their visits to Greece before deciding what steps to take next.

I'd like to see if Greece has fulfilled all its obligations and then I'd like to hear the (EU/IMF) troika report because it depends on the Greek government having found a solution with the troika, and I haven't read anything on that, he said.

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