Ministers were considering allowing Athens to buy back up to €40bn of its own bonds at a discount as one of a number of measures to cut Greek debt to 120 per cent of GDP within the next eight years.
Going into the second ministerial meeting in successive weeks, Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the Eurogroup, was cautiously optimistic of a deal being struck.
“We must still reach an understanding on several details and I would expect that the chances are good that we will come to a final and joint solution,” he said prior to last night’s talk. “But I’m not entirely certain [of reaching a deal tonight.”
His caution reflects the complex options being discussed, ongoing political differences and the sheer scale of reducing Greece’s debt pile.
Under a proposal discussed by ministers, Greece would offer private-sector bondholders around 30 cents for every euro of Greek debt they hold, allowing Athens to pay down some of its vast outstanding obligations, a senior official involved in the discussions told Reuters.