Greece asks for debt extension as True Finns hint at vote for bailout

GREECE is attempting to negotiate another extension in the terms of its bailout loans so as to avoid a full-scale restructuring of its public debt.

Finance minister George Papaconstantinou promised to crack down on tax evasion in return for lengthening the maturity of Athens’ €110bn (£98bn) seven-year rescue funds, which are already extended from their original four-year maturity.

Expectations of a Greek default have mounted following an upwards revision of its 2010 deficit to 10.4 per cent of GDP last week. Public debt reached 142.8 per cent of GDP last year.

Meanwhile, Timo Soini, leader of the eurosceptic True Finns party, which came third in Finland’s elections, signalled that his party might be willing to vote for the Portuguese bailout as part of coalition negotiations, a shift from his previous stance.