Greek bailout monitors to return: EU

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Bailout monitors from the European Union and International Monetary Fund will return to Greece as soon as Tuesday in an effort to complete a long-delayed review of the programme and unlock rescue cash, European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said.

Eurozone ministers will finally address debt relief for Greece, added Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem, meeting a key demand of Athens that has been resisted by the EU following its third bailout last year.

"I am very happy that mission chiefs are going to Athens as soon as tomorrow," Moscovici said at a news briefing Monday after a meeting of the eurozone's 19 finance ministers in Brussels.

The ministers were trying to defuse a bitter dispute between top EU and IMF officials over how strictly to hold Greece to the ambitious reform commitments made as part of its 86-billion-euro (S$131 billion) bailout agreed last July. The IMF encourages debt relief.

"We have a long-standing promise that if the Greek government fulfils its commitments...we will do what is necessary to make debt service manageable," Dijsselbloem told the same news conference.

"Today...we made explicit that the discussion is on our table," the Dutch finance minister said.