by Peter Spiegel
February 4, 2015
The European Central Bank is resisting a key element of the Greek government’s new rescue plan, potentially leaving Athens with no source of outside funding when its international bailout expires at the end of the month.
Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister, had proposed to European officials that Athens raise €10bn by issuing short-term Treasury bills as “bridge financing” to tide the country over for the next three months while a new bailout is agreed with its eurozone partners.
But the ECB is unwilling to approve the debt sale. It will not raise a €15bn ceiling on t-bill issuance to $25bn as requested by Athens, according two officials involved in the deliberations. “The Greek plan relies fully on the ECB,” said another eurozone official briefed on the talks. “The ECB will play hardball.”
Without T-bill financing, Athens will exit its bailout without access to emergency funding for the first time since the first Greek bailout began in May 2010.