Still, underlining the uncertainty about Greece's future, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported this weekend that an initial assessment by the troika inspectors suggests Greece may need to cover a financing shortfall of up to €14 billion over the next two years, rather than €11.5 billion. It did not cite sources. Avramopoulos said he couldn't confirm that.
Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, has again stressed its skepticism toward proposed purchases government bonds by the European Central Bank.
ECB President Mario Draghi said on Aug. 2 that the bank might make such purchases to lower the high borrowing costs faced by some governments, if those countries first applied for help from the eurozone's bailout fun. Draghi noted that the Bundesbank was the sole dissenter to the plan.
High borrowing costs on government bonds are threatening to ruin the finances of Spain and Italy, which are struggling to control their debts while their economies are in recession. If the borrowing costs stick at a high level — many market-watchers put that at 7 percent — a country would find it increasingly difficult to maintain its bond repayments and would have to turn to the other eurozone countries and the IMF for assistance. Because Italy's and Spain's economies are so large — the third- and fourth-largest in the eurozone — many analysts are worried that a request for a bailout would stretch the eurozone's finances to breaking point and plunge the region further into recession.
The German national central bank said in its monthly report Monday that it continues to "critically assess" such purchases and that they would carry "substantial risks."
The Bundesbank has one seat on the ECB's 23-member governing council, but has added clout because it has considerable public support among economists, legislators and the general public in Germany.
Spain's borrowing costs dropped sharply Monday following remarks made by the country's Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos.
Over the weekend, de Guindos said the ECB's bond-buying campaign should not be limited in amount or time. In early afternoon, trading the interest rate on Spanish 10-year bonds the secondary markets stood at 6.29, down 15 points for the day, although it had been down by as much as 30 points from Friday's close.
Ignacio Cantos of investment advisers Atl Capital attributed the drop to the market anticipating that the European Central Bank's program would match de Guindos' expectations.
Elena Becatoros in Athens, David McHugh in Frankfurt and Daniel Woolls in Madrid contributed to this article.
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