Greece bailout review set to resume

Greece Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos says the heads of the EU/IMF mission are expected to resume talks on the country's reforms next week.

Greece's lenders still need to be persuaded that Athens can plug a bigger-than-expected fiscal gap when talks on reforms needed under an international bailout resume next week, the finance minister says.

Talks between the heads of the EU/IMF mission reviewing Greece's progress and the government over a tough pension reform plan, fiscal targets and the handling of bad loans, took a break on Friday after four days of meetings.

They are due to continue "sometime next week" and then conclude two weeks later, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos said on Monday, adding that technical teams were discussing the size of the fiscal gap for 2016 and the country's performance last year.

Greece's stock market plunged about eight per cent on Monday on concerns that the bailout review had hit a snag.

Without a positive assessment of Greece's bailout reforms, talks on debt relief desperately sought by Athens cannot take place.

"There are disagreements, which we will discuss when we return. What is important ... is that they agree on the architecture of what we are proposing," Tsakalotos told politicians.

"We must convince them ... how we will reach the 3.5 percent of GDP primary budget surplus year by year.

"The pension and tax reforms will contribute to this in 2018."

Relying on a fragile three-seat majority, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to swiftly complete the bailout review to start talks on debt relief and convince the austerity-hit public that their sacrifices are paying off.

In an attempt to generate 1.8 billion euros ($A2.8 billion) in savings from its ailing pension system, Greece plans to increase social insurance contributions to buffer the elderly from pension cuts.

But the sweeping cuts have triggered outrage among groups including lawyers and farmers, who have blocked motorways with their tractors for the past two weeks and were planning to shift their protests to central Athens on February 12.

Source AAP

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