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New Greek bailout programme an option: EU official

Friday, February 13, 2015 - 20:38
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Greece's creditors could discuss a new international bailout programme to replace the one that new hard-left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to scrap, a senior EU official said on Friday.

[BRUSSELS] Greece's creditors could discuss a new international bailout programme to replace the one that new hard-left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wants to scrap, a senior EU official said on Friday.

Tsipras, who was elected in January, used a European summit on Thursday to press his demands for an end to the current EU-IMF rescue package which enforces austerity-heavy reforms on Greece.

Greek negotiators held technical talks with creditors in Brussels on Friday ahead of a crunch meeting on Monday of eurozone finance ministers, who have previously called on Athens to extend the current bailout.

Greece is facing a possible exit from the euro after its 240-billion-euro (S$366 billion) EU-IMF assistance package expires at the end of February, as without further aid it could run out of cash within weeks or months and end up defaulting.

"It is not crucial to extend. One could also agree that one will commence discussions on a new programme," the senior EU official said on condition of anonymity.

"I would not exclude it." Tsipras has also demanded and end to the hated "Troika" - the informal group comprising the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank which enforces the austerity measures.

The official raised the possibility of at the very least renaming the creditors' group.

"On the naming, there is no desire on anybody's part necessarily to call it the Troika, there is no official document on that... names are names," the official said.

AFP