The European Commission wants to give Greece until 2022 to reduce its debt to 120 percent of gross domestic product; while the International Monetary Fund — another part of the troika of international debt inspectors along with the ECB and EU — wants to stick to the original deadline of 2020.
The meeting did agree to give Greece until 2016 — that is, two more years — to make the reforms necessary to right its economy and begin reducing its debts. But Greece's creditors still have to decide how they will pay for the extension; officials have said it will cost about €30 billion extra through 2016.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble suggested Tuesday that the hole could be plugged by lowering the interest rates of the loans. Economists don't think that will be enough and have suggested eurozone countries should accept losses on their loans — something Schaeuble ruled out.
While it waits for its next batch of loans, Greece has had to raise money from financial markets to be able to repay €5 billion in bonds maturing Friday. It managed to get €4.06 billion from the sale of short-term bills on Tuesday. It will accept more bids until Thursday, by which time it expects to have gathered enough to afford Friday's bond repayment.
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Don Melvin can be reached at http://twitter.com/Don_Melvin.
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