Date
23 September 2017
Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras is being given more time to consider concessions in exchange for aid. Photo: AP
Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras is being given more time to consider concessions in exchange for aid. Photo: AP

Creditors propose to extend Greece bailout for nine months

Greece may get an extension of its bailout program until the end of March next year.

Talks are under way between Athens and eurozone officials to get the Greek government to agree to painful concessions in exchange for aid, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

The proposal was first presented to Greece last week, part of Europe’s efforts to break a months-long stalemate over a deal to unlock badly needed bailout funds.

But disagreements over budget cuts and overhauls that lenders are demanding in return risk undermining that plan.

The eurozone’s portion of Greece’s 245 billion euro (US$276 billion) rescue program runs out at the end of June.

A nine-month extension would help carry Athens over that funding gap and give Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his country’s creditors — the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund — more time to chart a new path for Greece’s economy.

But it does not resolve a clash between the two sides over what conditions would be attached to the continued support, the report said.

The extra time, along with additional financing from some 10.9 billion euro in aid money that had originally been set aside to prop up Greek banks, were discussed at a meeting between Tsipras and European Commission  President Jean-Claude Juncker last Wednesday, three people familiar with the negotiations said.

“What we offered would mean that Greece is fully financed until March 2016,” one of the people said.

The nine-month extension would also align the currency union’s loan program with that of the IMF, which is scheduled to expire then.

A Greek government official declined to comment on the possibility of such an extension.

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