Greece could receive more time, no money

Greece could receive more time, no money

NICOSIA ,Greek Cyprus
Greece could receive more time, no money

Eurogroup Chairman Juncker (C) speaks to Dutch Finance Minister De Jager (R) and Austrian Finance Minister Fekter (L) in Nicosia, Greek Cyprus on Sept. 14. EPA photo

Greece may be given more time to meet its bailout commitments if the country’s recession turns out worse than expected, but no more money will be provided by its euro partners, Dutch finance minister Jan Kees de Jager said Sept. 14.

Arriving for the start of two days of discussions between Europe’s finance ministers in the Greek Cypriot capital, De Jager said Greece does not have much flexibility as it tries to get more time to achieve its budget cuts and reform measures required by its rescue lenders.

“If the deficit turns out to be somewhat worse than expected because of a temporary downturn in the economy, there could be some time but not money, not extra money,” De Jager said.

Debt-crippled Greece has depended since May 2010 on international rescue loans, granted by its European partners and the International Monetary Fund, in return for a deeply unpopular austerity program.

The conservative-led Greek coalition government is seeking to get some of the terms of its austerity program adjusted, as the recession is proving worse than anticipated at the time it was negotiated. In particular, he is seeking a two-year extension to meeting the budget reduction program to 2016.
However, many of Greece’s euro partners are reluctant to give the country more time because it could mean additional funding for the crisis-hit country.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is currently struggling to get an agreement on an 11.5 billion euro ($14.7 billion) package of spending cuts for the coming two years with the two leaders of his coalition government, says no new money will be needed, arguing that Greece could raise more short-term money in the markets and rework its current spending plans.

He has been trying to convince EU leaders that Greece needs “time to breathe” so it can grow, which would make it easy to re-pay debts.