Key Eurogroup Meeting Delayed as Talks on Greece Bailout Extension Continue

World » EU | February 20, 2015, Friday // 19:34
Bulgaria: Key Eurogroup Meeting Delayed as Talks on Greece Bailout Extension Continue IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde arrives for the start of a special meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers at the EU Council headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, 20 February 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES

Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday said he felt certain eurozone finance ministers would grant his country’s request for a six-month extension to its EUR 172 B bailout.

Germany, however, has demanded "significant improvements" in Greek reform commitments, Reuters reported.  

The start of an emergency make-or-break meeting of the Eurogroup in Brussels has been delayed on Friday afternoon to give more time to Greece, other members of the eurozone and the IMF to prepare an agreement. The existing bailout deal expires at the end of the month and Greece could run out of money without a new accord.

The consultations involve the finance ministers of Germany and Greece, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Yanis Varoufakis, the IMF managing director Christine Lagarde and Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who is also Eurogroup President.

A report by German magazine Der Spiegel that the European Central Bank was making contingency plans for a possible Greek exit from the euro if the talks fail, on which the ECB declined comment, is highlighting the importance of the stakes in the dispute.

The discussions are on a new package of concessions beyond those offered in a letter from Greece requesting an extension to its bailout with the eurozone.

Greece is arguing that it can't remain in the eurozone if the bailout terms aren’t changed to allow the country to repay its massive debt. Germany, however, has stated repeatedly the terms of the bailout agreement signed in 2012 aren't negotiable.

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Tags: greece, Eurogroup, Lagarde, Varoufakis, Tsipras, Schaeuble, Dijsselbloem, bailout
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