EU says progress 'not sufficient' for Greece debt deal

RIGA (AFP) - Cash-strapped Greece has not made enough progress in crunch debt talks with its European partners to unlock sorely-needed funds as part of its massive EU-IMF bailout, the bloc's Commissioner for the Euro Valdis Dombrovskis said on Friday.

"Progress in technical negotiations has not been sufficient to reach any conclusion during this Eurogroup here in Riga," Dombrovskis said as he arrived for a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.

The eurozone's 19 ministers were meeting to discuss the situation in Greece and many had hoped that an end to months of deadlock would be reached during the talks.

"Progress has been made, I hope a lot of progress will be reported. I'm going to listen to the institutions first today," said Eurogroup chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem as he arrived for the talks.

Greek officials and its international creditors have been locked in discussions over Athens' massive debt bailout programme and reforms it must adopt in exchange for urgently needed funds.

Progress in the talks has so far proved elusive while Athens is running out of money to pay its creditors, raising the risk of a default and a potentially chaotic exit from the single currency bloc.

"I heard some positive news last week, but I need to know more," Dijsselbloem said.

Ministers in February has set the end of April as a deadline to reach agreement on a comprehensive list of reforms from the far left Syriza government in Athens, but it seemed increasingly likely that date would be missed.

"April isn't over yet," Dijsselbloem said.

"(But) that deadline is more important for the Greek side," he added, signalling that the Athens' dire need for cash would push them to compromise.

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