May 19, 2018 / 5:41 PM / in 7 months

Greece, lenders reach initial agreement on bailout review

FILE PHOTO: A Greek and a tangled EU flag flutter atop Greece's Financial Ministry in Athens, Greece, November 21, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece and representatives from its European and International Monetary Fund creditors have reached an initial agreement on the country’s reform progress under its final bailout review, the finance minister said on Saturday.

“The staff-level agreement closed. We have an agreement on all issues,” Euclid Tsakalotos told reporters, adding it would be ratified at an upcoming meeting of euro zone finance ministers.

Greece is keen for a quick closure of the review as it looks to the end of its third bailout in August. It is being assessed on more than 80 demanded reforms, including on energy issues, pension and labor issues.

Athens also wants to reach a deal with its lenders before July on further debt relief, which will be implemented in the post-bailout period.

Greece has received about 260 billion euros in emergency loans since 2010 in exchange for unpopular austerity measures and reforms. The money has kept it afloat but has also increased its debt, which now stands at 180 percent of GDP.

The government wants to emerge from the bailout without requesting a precautionary credit line or extra financial aid. It has been building a cash buffer and wants to be able to service its debt with funds raised directly from the markets.

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Andrew Bolton

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