BRUSSELS — European leaders ratcheted up the pressure Monday on Greek bondholders to take voluntary losses to ease the region’s debt crisis as the International Monetary Fund turned the focus on governments, urging them to complete action on a new bailout fund.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said in Berlin it was “high time to work on the new Greece program” after talks between bondholders and authorities in Athens bogged down over the weekend.
Jan Kees de Jager, the Dutch finance minister, told parties charged with working out a deal on Greek debt to speed up negotiations or face the prospect of bruising financial consequences.
“Our goal is a sustainable debt,” said Mr. de Jager, arriving at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels. “It has our preference if it’s voluntary, but it’s not a precondition for us,” he said.
The Cypriot finance minister, Charilaos Stavrakis, warned that “we cannot keep it open forever,” referring to the question of what interest rate to charge for new Greek debt.
The comments suggest that patience among leaders may be wearing thin as bondholders and Greek officials wrangle over the interest rate for new bonds that would be part of a deal reducing Greek debt by around €100 billion, or $130 billion.