Eurozone ministers push bailout extension for Greece

GMT 15:41 2014 Monday ,08 December

Arab Today, arab today Eurozone ministers push bailout extension for Greece

Greece may yet secure a bailout extension
Brussels - AFP

 Eurozone ministers on Monday said a solution was near to avert a fresh crisis over Greek public finances, despite a fight over the government's budget estimates that EU-IMF creditors believe are too optimistic.
"There seems to be a need for more time, but I think we will find a way," said the influential German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, as he arrived for talks on the issue in Brussels.
A new line of credit became urgent after Athens proposed in October to break free completely of financial oversight.
This spooked the markets, bringing Greek borrowing rates to dangerously high levels, and reviving memories of the debt crisis that nearly sank the euro.
Violent protests this weekend also renewed concerns that Greece could again become a big problem for the eurozone.
But a new credit line for Greece would require the previous bailout to be completed or terminated, and with a bitter row between the Samaras government and the creditors still ongoing, this seems unlikely before December 31.
At the talks, ministers will discuss extending the current bailout terms for Greece, which would ease the pressure in the budget row.
A final decision however is not expected at the talks, which will also discuss the problematic budgets of France, Italy and Belgium.
"If we need another extension, it wouldn't be the first time," Schaeuble said, while adding that Greece must remain on the path of reform.
As protests raged outside, Greek parliament late Sunday passed the disputed budget for 2015 based on growth and deficit figures that Greece's "troika" of creditors -- the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund -- regard as too optimistic.
Agreement on the budget is required in order for Greece to receive the final 1.8 billion euro instalment of its huge bailout that has totalled a whopping 240 billion euros ($294.8 billion) in rescue loans since 2010.
The payment should be delivered to Greece this month, but Prime Minister Antonis Samaras -- hit by the protests as well as a political threat from the resurging far left Syriza party -- has refused to yield in the budget fight, holding up the end of the bailout programme.
"All the parties involved should go as far as possible (to make things work)," said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister and head of the Eurogroup.

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