Date
17 October 2017
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the budget cuts and economic restructuring attached to the current 240 billion euro (US$273 billion) bailout are hurting the country's economy and society. Photo: Wall Street Journal
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the budget cuts and economic restructuring attached to the current 240 billion euro (US$273 billion) bailout are hurting the country's economy and society. Photo: Wall Street Journal

Greece eyes extension of eurozone loan deal

Greece will seek an extension of its loan agreement on Wednesday, preventing the country’s current deal with the eurozone from expiring at the end of February.

The move marks an apparent shift in the standoff between Athens and its creditors that has raised questions over the country’s future in Europe’s currency union, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing two officials with knowledge of the situation.

Greek officials could ask for an extension of four to six months, the newspaper said, adding that the conditions to the request are still under negotiation.

Earlier on Monday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told the parliament that his government would move to immediately dismantle overhauls mandated by its bailout program. He said he would not submit to “psychological blackmail”.

Athens has insisted that budget cuts and economic restructuring attached to the current 240 billion euro (US$273 billion) bailout are hurting the country’s economy and society, and that the currency union hasn’t offered enough leeway for the country to implement those measures.

Although the request for an extension would mark a turnaround by the Greek government, it would still face obstacles.

After Monday’s talks, eurozone finance ministers set several preconditions for considering an extension, including a promise from Greece to not roll back any measures implemented under the existing bailout deal and coordinate any new moves with its creditors.

They also want the new government in Athens to pledge full repayment of the country’s debts to the eurozone, the report said.

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CG

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