Eurozone, Greece fail to agree on bailout, chances to leave euro 50%Staff writer ▼ | February 17, 2015
Eurozone finance ministers were unable to reach a final agreement with Greek government on the bailout program, Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said at a press conference.
Talks Possible six months technical extension
The Eurogroup meeting ended one hour earlier after the Greek authorities rejected the draft statement constructed by the Eurogroup in a bid to agree on a new debt deal as Greece's debt deadline approaching.
"The Greek authorities expressed their intention to request a six months technical extension of the current program as an intermediate step. This would bridge the time for the Greek authorities and the Eurogroup to work on a follow-up arrangement," the leaked draft statement seen by Xinhua said.
Greece's current bailout expires at the end of the month, and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' government has refused to extend it on current terms.
"The Eurogroup is favourably disposed to such a request by the Greek authorities," the statement which the Greek authorities rejected said.
The risk of Greece exiting the euro was raised to 50 percent by Commerzbank AG.
The Eurogroup agreed that the best way forward is for Greece to seek an extension of the bailout. Dijsselbloem said: "We simply need more time. The best way to do that is to extend the current program."
At the press conference, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of International Monetary Fund said: "If Greece requests a bailout extension, and commits to implementing its current program, then we can continue to work together."
The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici explained the talks as "constructive, but not concluding," adding that "Greece will have to submit a program extension request. We will continue the dialogue this week, but it is up to Greece to take the necessary steps."
The risk of Greece exiting the euro was raised to 50 percent by Commerzbank AG. ■