Germany rejects Greek demand for EU bailout extension
Germany has rejected Greece’s proposal for a six-month renewal of its European Union’s bailout program, describing it as “not substantial.”
A statement from the office of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Thursday dismissed the practicality of Athens’ recent proposal which demanded that its EU partners extend Greece’s bailout program for six months.
“The letter from Athens is not a substantial proposal for a solution,” said the short statement.
EU finance ministers agreed on Monday to continue their support for the debt-wracked Greece on condition that the government in Athens meet five requirements, with the most notable of them a pledge not to revise previously agreed commitments.
However, Berlin said the new letter by Greece demanding the renewal of the EU loan runs contrary to the criteria set in the EU meeting.
“In truth it aims at bridge financing, without meeting the requirements of the program. The letter does not meet the criteria agreed upon in the Eurogroup on Monday,” the statement added.
The Greek proposal for the extension of the loan, which is set to expire at the end of February, also includes a rejection of any new austerity measure imposed on the country. Unidentified sources in Greece claimed earlier Thursday that the proposal could help Athens reduce its huge debt and facilitate reaching a compromise with its international creditors “without blackmail and shortage of time”.
Officials in Brussels welcomed the proposal with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured above) saying Thursday that the letter from Greece was “a positive sign which could pave the way for a reasonable compromise.”
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza party won Greek general election in early January on the promise that it would renegotiate terms of the country’s bailout program with the EU. Athens has repeatedly warned that a failure in finding a solution out of the current deadlock could see the country exit the eurozone, which many fear could tear the bloc apart.
Germany, the dominant economic power in the EU, has shown no sign of flexibility for Greece’s demand, saying the country should meet its previous commitments before it could request a renewal of the loans.