Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Creditors stand firm on Greece bailout terms

Financial Times
June 13, 2012

Greece’s creditors say they would consider only minor tweaks to the country’s €174bn bailout following Sunday’s elections, a message intended to dispel any illusions among voters as they head to the polls in a contest that could prove pivotal for the euro.

Senior officials in Brussels and Berlin acknowledged that they would be willing to discuss with a new Greek government how it would hit budget targets in the bailout programme.

But they would not alter or delay those targets – nor would they supply additional money from the EU or International Monetary Fund to pay for any slippage by Greece, they said.

“The margin to negotiate is in the realm of nanotechnology,” one European diplomat said, noting the hardening mood against Greece.

The fate of the unpopular loan agreement has become the central issue in Sunday’s election, with the far-left candidate, Alexis Tsipras, rising in the polls by promising voters that he will tear it up and seek a new bargain.

His chief competitor, Antonis Samaras, leader of the centre-right New Democracy party, has taken a more moderate approach, saying he would abide by the loan but try to renegotiate some of its austere terms.


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