France wants swift start of talks on debt relief for Greece

French President Hollande says in Athens that "next step has to be on debt and this must start soon"

French President Francois Hollande at his state visit in Greece called for a swift start of negotiations between the eurozone and the Greek government on debt relief for the country, Greek daily Kathimerini reported. “The next step has to be on debt and this must start soon,” Hollande said according to the newspaper. Representatives of the EU Commission, the IMF, the ECB and Europe’s permanent rescue fund ESM started talks with government officials in Athens on Wednesday to review the implementation of the agreed reform program. “We are on a good path,” Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said. “There is a broad agreement on the fiscal targets.”

A positive review by the representatives of Greece’s lenders is a necessary pre-condition for the disbursement of further financial aid under the new rescue program and the launch of talks on debt relief. Over the weekend, the Greek parliament passed a major reform bill. cep economist Matthias Kullas warned, though, that a debt cut for Greece should only happen once the country has implemented the bulk of the reforms agreed with its lenders.