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Greek VP: There May Be a Bailout Program Extension

venizelos-maksimou-708The meeting between Greek Premier Antonis Samaras and Vice President Evangelos Venizelos at the Maximos Mansion this morning confirms that the Paris talks with the troika have brought the Greek coalition government at an impasse.
“Our aim is to have the last disbursement before December 31st when the program ends,” Venizelos said coming out of the meeting. However, he admitted that there is a possibility of a bailout program extension.
Answering journalists questions, Venizelos repeated the coalition positions that the government will not cut pensions and salaries, will utilize the primary surplus and GDP growth and that there is no fiscal gap, like Greece ‘s lenders claim. He also said that the troika will return to Greece at an unspecified date and that there are other ways to negotiate, such as teleconferences. He added that the International Monetary Fund has a program to continue Greece ‘s support, but it is up to Athens to decide whether to use that support or not.
“Whoever believes that it is easy to negotiate with our European partners, the IMF, or the markets, is mistaken,” Venizelos said answering on the criticisms the government receives of being soft and subordinate in the negotiations.
On the hot issue of the extension of the bailout program, Venizelos said, “If for some reason we don’t get the last disbursement, the program may be extended. But a new program means a new loan. There won’t be a new loan, we don’t need it. There will be an Enhanced Conditions Credit Line (ECCL), which is a preventive credit support.”
Finally, on the issue of the presidential election, Venizelos said that the presidential elections will take place when they are due, not earlier.
Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis, coming out of the meeting, reiterated that the bailout program may be extended for an unspecified period of time “for technical reasons.”

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