Greece not to vote on EU deal
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoGreece will not submit to a parliamentary vote an EU loan deal that has reportedly split the ruling hard-left Syriza party, a government official said March 2.
"The government chooses not to ratify this agreement in parliament," government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis told Real FM radio.
"It is just an extension of a loan agreement, and we do not want to give particular weight to this document," he added.
The accord has raised strong objections among several members of the ruling Syriza party, as the government had to sideline part of its anti-austerity agenda for four months without receiving any EU financing to meet pressing repayment needs.
Over the weekend, some 40 percent of Syriza members expressed their opposition to the EU agreement at a party committee meeting, Greek media reported.
Sakellaridis said the government would instead hold an "open, transparent" debate in parliament on the agreement.
Germany's lower house on Friday overwhelmingly approved the four-month agreement that keeps Greece's loan lifeline open, the only European parliament to hold a vote on the issue.
The agreement reached by eurozone finance minister on February 20 calls on Greece to submit an alternative reform plan by the end of April.
Approval of the plan by Greece's international creditors would enable Athens to claim the funds remaining in its 240-billion euro ($272-billion) EU-IMF bailout.
The extension removed fears of a looming Greek default as the European leg of the bailout was due to expire on February 28.
However, Athens continues to face a daunting debt repayment schedule until August.
This month it must pay over 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund and redeem another 4.4 billion euros in maturing treasury bills.
The government spokesman on Monday insisted Athens would be able to cover its March payments.
A sale of six-month treasury bills will be held on Wednesday, aiming to raise at least 875 million euros.