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Greece set to seek loan agreement deal

brussels bureau

Greece set to seek loan agreement deal


Greece is set to request on Thursday of its ‘loan agreement’ for another six months.

European Commission officials insist that is the same thing as seeking an extension of the country’s bailout.

Greece has really made progress in recent years that is to be respected. That is not at zero cost. It’s nowhere at zero cost. But that was the right way. If there is a better way OK, But we have not seen it so far,” said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble in a television interview.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is under pressure. Bailout funds run out this month, but having promised to end austerity during his election campaign, the 40-year-old former Communist has to deliver.

“We are at a critical point in the negotiations, critical and sensitive. We are submitting proposals and I hope we will pass this obstacle, which will give us the possibility to move forward,” he said.

German economist Daniel Gros of the Centre for European Policy Studies said that Athens is looking for a bailout extension, but by another name it can sell to voters.

“The compromise I see is that in the end the Greek government signs up too much of the substance which was in the previous memorandum maybe with some relaxation of the fiscal targets but otherwise the substance has to be the same but the name has to be different,” he said. “It has to be called the growth contract, fight against corruption, fight against tax evasion. Everybody is for it and if you put that in the headlines then maybe the Greek side will be able to accept it.”

A decision is expected Thursday. If Greece’s bid fails, the government may ask for a special eurozone leaders summit to be called.

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