Greece returns to the table for elusive deal

 
Ollie Gordon
GREECE’S government is expected to ask for an extension on its loan agreement with the Eurozone today – but the debt-laden country will distinguish the loan from its bailout programme, the conditions of which it vehemently opposes.

Greek representatives will ask for an extension of up to six months, but the terms remain under negotiation.

The extension request could be akin to the common statement proposed by European economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici, which Greece’s finance minister said he was willing to accept before it was withdrawn shortly before the Eurozone finance ministers’ meeting on Monday.

Greece’s new Syriza-led government rejected a plan to extend its €240bn (£178bn) bailout – which expires on 28 February – on Monday night, saying that it would be associated with austerity policies that it was trying to break from.

Athens is now seeking to replace the bailout with a new loan that would give it enough time to come up with a more permanent solution to its debt woes. “We’re not accepting ultimatums. We’re not going to request an extension of the programme/bailout,” an unnamed government official told Reuters. “We’re examining the possibility of requesting an extension of the loan agreement, clearly differentiating it from the programme/bailout.”

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