The European Union's top finance officials says that bailout talks with Greece are aimed at achieving a debt relief deal and a return to full program participation by the International Monetary Fund by Christmas.

Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici visited Athens on Monday before a tough bailout review due in the fall, with Greece preparing to deal with a huge level of non-performing loans and international pressure to slash protective labor rules.

The IMF is at odds with eurozone country lenders over Greece's third international bailout, arguing that tougher austerity or more generous debt relief is needed to repair the country's battered public finances.