Greece deal must be reached by 15 June, says European commissioner

Greece deal must be reached by 15 June, says European commissioner

But that didn't happen, meaning the negotiating parties will once again have to wait for another meeting of eurozone finance ministers in the hopes of achieving a deal.

The meeting was the first for Le Maire, who was named to his post last week by Macron, a pro-EU centrist. The loans are essential to Athens repaying 7.3 billion euros of loans set to mature in July.

But Macron's position put him at odds with Germany where Greek debt relief - following three different bailouts since 2010 - is seen as a vote loser ahead of general elections in September. Without the money, Greece would struggle to meet its obligations and would again face another brush with bankruptcy, as it has done on various occasions over the past seven years, most recently in the summer of 2015.

The so-called Eurogroup meeting began after finance ministry deputies earlier in the day failed to resolve the outstanding issues, as disagreements between the International Monetary Fund and Germany over Greece's economic outlook and required debt relief persisted, according to two European Union officials with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be identified because the discussion was private.

Still officials tried to put a courageous face on the stalemate.

"Germany should have an interest in not isolating itself too much", Schaefer said.

Last week, as the Greek parliament passed the bill, prime minister Alexis Tsipras said that "debt relief [would] correspond to the sacrifices of the Greek people".

The European Commission, one of the overseers of the bailout, sought to downplay fears that Greece was heading for another financial crisis.

"We've not reached an overall agreement on that part of the discussion". "Now it is up to its partners to do the same".

The deadlock on the debt issue prevented an agreement on the so-called second review of the bailout programme despite Greece having met the creditors' requirements.

However, Germany and the Netherlands, among other creditors, have consistently stated they will not keep bailing out Greece if the International Monetary Fund pulls out.

More debt relief is also necessary for the European Central Bank to consider Greek bonds in its asset purchases program, which would ease the country's access to bond markets.

Without a deal, a desperately needed loan payment to Athens can not be made.

The IMF board is split on whether Greece can meet fiscal targets and has urged eurozone creditors to provide Greece with debt relief.

And if a deal is not made at this meeting, markets may start to panic that Greece will not be able to make vital payments.

"Everyone must make a step", said Le Maire.

They delayed a deal over longer-term debt relief measures for Greece until their next meeting on June 15. That would bridge the gap until bailout funding from the European Stability Mechanism, the country's main EU creditor, expires in August 2018.

Greece's debt mountain stands at a towering 180 percent of annual output, and the country is now back in a recession despite emerging from its economic depression in 2014.

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