Comments from European Commssion finance chief, Pierre Moscovici, are being seen as a clear hint that Eurogroup ministers meeting on December 5th will discuss debt relief measures to help Greece cope with the aftermath of its debt crisis. David Pollard reports.
Greece's port hub Piraeus at a standstill amid strikes over reform. But Greece's economy is moving - and for the second quarter in a row. With a bailout review in progress, a rise in GDP of 0.8 per cent gets more than just a nod of approval from creditors .... (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU ECONOMIC AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER, PIERRE MOSCOVICI, SAYING: "If we are capable of concluding the review, then we must absolutely open, positively, debt talks. And I think we are very close to that." It was a clear hint that when they meet on December 5th, Eurogroup ministers will discuss the debt relief that Greece so badly wants. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EUCLID TSAKALOTOS, SAYING: "Without a debt solution, we won't be included in quantitative easing, without quantitative easing we won't be able to regain market access by the end of 2017 or at most the beginning of 2018." But even with Eurogroup backing, it could be a tough ask. Germany still likely to oppose - and perhaps not the only one to do so as Europe braces for elections. SOUNDBITE (English) OANDA SENIOR MARKET ANALYST, CRAIG ERLAM, SAYING: "Direct debt relief is going to be necessary. It's just a case of who's going to be brave enough to do it, and how are they going to justify to the electorate. Because we've got to remember, anything like this has to pass through all other euro zone parliaments, and that's not a politically easy thing to do." A spat between the creditors themselves could also lead to slow motion progress. The IMF at odds with the EU over the tougher budget targets it wants. Greece increasingly desperate for action to remove the 228 billion euro debt that hangs over them.