Greece might not get the complete picture of how its debt is going to be restructured before June, the head of the euro zone's finance ministers said Friday.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), Greece and European creditors have been at odds over how to reduce the country's debt burden. The idea on the table is to link Greece's future growth rates to how much interest it will pay on its loans — the higher the growth rate is, the more interest Greece can pay. But the IMF and Europe do not have the same growth forecasts and have therefore been unable to reach a deal on this issue.
Mario Centeno, who heads the group of 19 euro zone finance chiefs called the Eurogroup, cautioned that this divergence between Europe and the IMF might not be bridged before June.
"The final decision on the implementation of the debt measures will be taken, if needed, at the end of the program, conditional on full-implementation of the program," Centeno told reporters in Sofia, Bulgaria. The reference to "end of the program" means June, though the financial assistance to Greece comes to an end on August 20.
Centeno also said: "On the basis of a successful review, the Eurogroup will decide in June all the elements that can help facilitate the exit of Greece from the program in August."
Greece — still recovering from the euro zone debt crisis of 2011 — requested the current program in 2015 and it has since then been promised some debt relief. But opposition from some European countries and disagreements with the IMF have postponed the issue. The Greek government has, therefore, welcomed finally having a deadline to see the debt measures fully laid out. Failure to agree on debt relief to Greece would not only make Greece's return to the markets more abrupt but also compromise the credibility of providing financial assistance to European countries.