Central Bank exec says Greece needs debt relief

Calls for the country's bailout lenders to cut it some slack...

Central Bank exec says Greece needs debt relief

Petros Giannakouris / AP

European Central Bank executive Benoit Coeure has urged lenders to grant Greece relief on its massive debts, the Washington Post reports.

The ECB official said that, for its part, Athens would have to agree to further budgetary austerity measures and that the ECB was "looking forward to a solution" on Greek debt, which is now chiefly comprised of loans from other states and the International Monetary Fund.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras, Coeure commented:

"All stake holders in the Greek adjustment programme realise that there are serious concerns about the sustainability of the Greek public debt."

His words come after a similar appeal in a report from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published today.

It read:

"Even if the ambitious medium-term fiscal targets... were met, more should be done to public debt clearly sustainable."

Coeure was joined by EU Finance Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici in Athens as negotiations on Greek austerity continue.

Lenders are seeking the introduction of more flexible working contracts and a vast reduction in the protection afforded to troubled mortgages. The Greek government, in contrast, fears that these measures would only exacerbate the nation's welfare crisis. 

Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said of labour regulation today:

"Allow me to make some criticism of the European institutions. Those institutions should not consider a country that is in a programme to have lesser rights. I think it's not right, not morally right."

Greece has seen its economy shrink by a quarter and its poverty levels approximately double in recent years. Its debt level looks set to peak at 180.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year.