The head of the eurozone finance ministers warned Greece on Monday to push ahead with reforms but expressed confidence the debt-wracked country would soon win a much-needed slice of bailout cash.
"We hope that the necessary conditions will be fulfilled quite soon for the euro working group to be in a position to agree on the disbursement of 1.0 billion euros ($1.37 billion) by the year end," Jeroen Dijsselbloem told reporters after a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
Nevertheless, he stressed that Greece still had much progress to make in reforming its economy and announced that international creditors would return to Athens on Tuesday.
"We are fully aware of the efforts undertaken by Greece, also of the difficult political situation, but the job is not yet done," Dijsselbloem said.
"In order for Greece to return to a path of sustainable growth and job creation, further measures ... need to be implemented fully."
"Realistically, it's going to be very, very hard -- if not impossible -- to finalise this review by year's end," Dijsselbloem said.
The creditors -- the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund -- and the Greek government disagree on the level of a forecast financing gap for 2014 and the measures needed to cover it.
Discussions are reportedly stumbling on the issue of a new property tax, property auctions, layoffs in the state sector and the slow pace of privatisation.
EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn said the team would "make all the efforts to close as many issues as possible by the end of the year."
"The efforts made by the Greek people and the Greek authorities have allowed the country to address many of the country's deep-seated structural problems," Rehn said.
"Now it makes sense to stay the course of reform."
In contrast, Ireland won praise for its progress as it prepares to exit its bailout programme next week.
"We are fully confident that Ireland will be able to stand on its own feet," said Dijsselbloem.
Rehn pointed to Ireland as an example of what can be achieved if countries stick to the reform demands that accompany bailout cash.
"The successful conclusion of the Irish programme is a strong signal that the common response to the crisis is delivering results," said the commissioner.
"An adjustment programme has a beginning and an end and the path between these two points is smoothest when there is determined implementation of the path concerned."
On December 15, after three years of spending cuts and tax rises, Ireland will become the first of the rescued eurozone countries to exit its bailout programme