September 6, 2019 / 1:43 PM / 3 months ago

Euro zone neutral to positive towards Greek plan for early IMF repayment

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

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Senior euro zone officials were neutral to positive this week to a plan presented by their Greek peer for Athens to repay earlier some of its costly loans from the International Monetary Fund, a senior EU official said on Friday.

Greece, cut off from the markets during the sovereign debt crisis of 2010-2015, borrowed heavily from the IMF and euro zone governments.

IMF loans are much more expensive than those from the euro zone. To repay them before they reach maturity, Greece needs permission from its euro zone creditors. Without an EU waiver, Athens would have to repay euro zone loans earlier, in proportion to what it pays back to the IMF.

Officials have said that Greece wants to repay some 3.7-4.0 billion euros out of the total 9 billions it still owes the IMF. The plan was presented this week to EU officials preparing meetings of euro zone finance ministers later next week.

“The Greek representative mentioned this and ... the reception was rather neutral to positive,” the senior official said, adding that the EU was still waiting for a formal request from Athens.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski and Francesco Guarascio

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