Euro zone finance ministers on Monday urged Greece to conclude talks with its international lenders on the latest review of the country's bailout program as early as this week.
The review by the Troika – the European Commission, ECB and IMF – started in September and has been the longest running since the country took its first bailout in 2010. It checks the country's compliance with reforms and austerity demanded in return for aid.
Greece's finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, was hoping for an agreement by Monday's meeting. The finance ministers acknowledged the progress made since the Troika returned two weeks ago, but there still seem to be disagreements on a number of issues.
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"There are a number of issues still to deal with on the fiscal side, on the banking side and on the reform side.", said Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem during a press conference in Brussels.
Greek funding needs aren't as pressing these days as they used to be, but a May deadline nonetheless looms. Two bonds worth a combined 10.2 billion euros are set to mature May 20 and 22. The next tranche of aid from the Troika should be enough to cover this, but the funds need to be released on time.
Greece is still set to receive a 4.9 billion euro loan tranche from the EU and 1.9 billion euros from the IMF. Klaus Regling, who heads the euro zone bailout fund or EFSF, said on Monday that the fund still has 10.1 billion euros in the pipeline for Greece under the current program.
"In Greece, the (Troika) mission is still in the country, so the size and the time of the next disbursement from the EFSF to Greece will depend on the outcome of this mission.", he told reporters after Monday's meeting of finance ministers.
The Bank of Greece and the Troika disagreed last week over the recapitalization needs of Greek banks. Greece puts the figure at 6.4 billion euros ($8.9 billion), while the IMF says it is around 8-9 billion euros.
"We took note of the results of the supervisory stress test in Greece and the asset quality review of the six Greek banks and the ensuing estimates for the banks' recapitalization needs. Now we expect that the necessary capital is injected swiftly into all the banks and is raised first and foremost from private investors and we welcome that two banks have announced recapitalization plans going beyond the requirements stemming from the test," Dijsselbloem said.
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Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank announced last week their return to capital markets.
According to Kathimerini newspaper, which cited government sources, Greece is under pressure from the Troika to submit a new legal framework that would allow the Greek recapitalization fund to sell shares it acquired from Greek lenders at a lower price. Such a law would be hard to pass through parliament.
Other sticking points seem to be mass layoffs in the public sector and the implementation of the OECD's recommendations to remove regulations that hamper competition, the so-called OECD 'toolkit'.