Venizelos: “The bailout may be extended for technical reasons”

The coalition government leaders, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Vice President Evangelos Venizelos, have arranged to…

The critical meeting between coalition government leaders Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Vice President Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday morning has concluded. The Minister of Finances Gikas Hardouvelis was also present at the meeting. The meeting was called in light of the negotiation team’s failure to come to an agreement with the troika in Paris.

On his way out of the meeting, Mr. Venizelos told journalists that the bailout agreement may be extended «for technical reasons» and stressed that a new loan will not be necessary. Mr. Venizelos elaborated that “the goal is to collect the last installment before the 31st of December. If, for technical reasons, some procedures cannot be completed, then [the bailout program] may be extended. But a new program means a new loan and that cannot happen”.

The government Vice President added that the troika negotiations were difficult and that the government would remain true to its commitments regarding pensions and wages.

With time running against the Greek government, the two leaders will have to make some serious decision regarding the troika demands. The main points of contestation are the budget gap, the increase of the VAT and slashing pensions, with the government also rejecting the possibility of a long-term extension of the existing bailout program.

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