Greek hopes of avoiding third bailout raised

The Greek government was encouraged Thursday by Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s comments that Greece might not need a third bailout, which is the line firmly held by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his ministers.

Speaking to the European Parliament’s economic affairs committee, the Dutch finance minister indicated that it was too early to assess whether Greece would need further bailout cash. He said he hoped that the optimistic view held by some in Greece that a new program would not be needed would turn out to be accurate.

“We will evaluate this in the second half of the year,” said Dijsselbloem. “That is when we will decide if a new program is needed and what form it might take.”

Sources within the Greek government welcomed the minister’s comments, although they added that there is still a long way to go before Greece is in a position where it can prove that further loans will not be needed.

Dijsselbloem’s comment came ahead of the resumption of negotiations with the troika on Monday. Visiting officials will be looking to conclude a review of the Greek program they began in September.

Samaras has asked his ministers to provide him with dossiers of their progress in meeting the troika’s targets ahead of the new round of talks, which may conclude in time for the April 1 Eurogroup in Athens rather than the March 10 meeting of eurozone finance minister that will take place in Brussels.