The eurozone's 17 finance ministers broke off talks in the early hours of this morning having failed to reach a deal on Greece's next bail-out instalment despite discussions lasting more than ten hours.
Officials said that the meeting had made progress in resolving some of the technical issues surrounding what is expected to be a loan of €31.5 billion but that more work needed to be done. Ministers will meet in Brussels again on Monday (26 November) to try to make a breakthrough.
Today's meeting followed scheduled talks last Monday (12 November) that also broke up without agreement.
In a statement, Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of Eurogroup meetings, said: “The Eurogroup [eurozone finance ministers] has had an extensive discussion and made progress in identifying a consistent package of credible initiatives aimed at making a further substantial contribution to the sustainability of Greek government debt.
“The Eurogroup interrupted its meeting to allow for further technical work on some elements of this package.” A press conference scheduled for the conclusion of the meeting was cancelled.
Many of the 17 finance ministers had expressed hope going into the meeting on Tuesday evening that agreement would be reached, but the issue of how long Greece should be given to reduce its debt remains a major sticking point.
Finance ministers want to give Greece until 2022 to bring Greece's debt to down to120% of gross domestic product (GDP). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) wants to stick to the original target date of 2020, but because the situation in Greece has deteriorated this would end up costing eurozone countries more money.
When he left the meeting, Juncker said that there were “no major political disagreements”.