Greece stalls on bailout loan

 
City A.M. Reporter
Greece is discussing prolonging the repayment of a €110bn (£96bn) EU/IMF bailout deal, finance minister George Papaconstantinou told Greek Skai television yesterday.

“It is an ongoing discussion, there is no decision but this is completely different from the issue of restructuring of the Greek debt,” Papaconstantinou said.

The International Monetary Fund said on Sunday that bailout loans to Greece could be stretched out or replaced if refinancing worries lingered in markets, but it currently has no concrete plans to do so.

“This discussion has started because everybody sees that for two specific years – 2014 and 2015 – the state goes suddenly from paying off €40bn to €50bn a year to €70bn,” Papaconstantinou told Skai’s News Files show.

Papaconstantinou said Greece had not officially asked for such an extension. “If at one point the decision is taken it must come as a reward for the good work we’re doing and not because we could not achieve our targets, because then it would send the wrong message to markets,” he said.

The IMF spokeswoman said there were no concrete plans at this time for such moves because of recent improvements in investor sentiment toward Greece. Papaconstantinou also said this year’s budget deficit would reach about eight per cent of GDP from about 14 per cent last year.