ATHENS (TIP): Greece sent its European creditors a last-moment proposal on february 19 meant to unfreeze talks on its bailout program and end uncertainty over its future in the euro. But hopes of a deal at an emergency meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday were dampened by Germany, the main creditor.
The Greek government offered to extend its rescue loan agreement by six months, as the 19-country eurozone had demanded in order to give all sides more time to hash out a more permanent deal.
It held back, however, on offering to continue in full a series of budget cuts and reforms that the eurozone has required since 2010 in exchange for loans, but that Greece blames for devastating its economy.
German finance ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said in a statement it ”is not a substantial proposal for a solution.”
He said it amounts to a request ”for bridge financing without fulfilling the demands of the (bailout) program,” namely the budget measures. It does not, he added, correspond to what the eurozone countries had demanded of Greece before talks broke down on Monday.
The European executive commission was somewhat more upbeat.
Spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ”sees in this letter a positive sign which, in his assessment, could pave the way for a reasonable compromise in the interest of financial stability in the euro area as a whole.”
He said Juncker held talks yesterday, overnight and this morning with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras and Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads meetings of eurozone finance ministers.