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Some light on the horizon for Greece’s bailout.

Following an agreement with creditors over Athens’ latest reform measures, the International Monetary Fund – the awkward partner in the programme – has welcomed progress over releasing the latest tranche of rescue cash to the debtor economy.

Responding to today’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Malta, the IMF said “important progress” had been made in bringing the institution fully onboard in the €86bn bailout.

Keeping the IMF happy is a key condition to ensure its financial involvement in the three-year rescue, as demanded by governments in Germany, the Netherlands and Finland when the rescue package was signed two years ago.

Earlier today, Athens and its bailout monitors agreed on a €2bn package of tax and pension reform measures to be implemented by the Syriza government in 2019-2020 as part of its rescue deal.

Gerry Rice, IMF spokesman, said that although some issues remained outstanding, “there are good prospects for successfully concluding discussions on these outstanding policy issues during the next mission to Athens”.

Today’s breakthrough means technical teams from the EU and IMF will also return to Athens with the aim of paving the way the formal release of around €6bn in rescue cash in the coming months. This will ensure Greece avoids a summer default when a series of debt repayments are due in July.

Mr Rice added that the pending staff level agreement would need to be “followed by discussions with euro area countries to ensure satisfactory assurances on a credible strategy to restore debt sustainability, before a program is presented to the IMF Executive Board.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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