ECONOMY

Germany’s finance ministry denies report it is preparing third bailout for Greece

A high-ranking German official has denied reports that the country’s Finance Ministry is working on a new aid package for Greece.

Martin Kotthaus, a spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, on Thursday rejected the report, published in Die Zeit newspaper, as “speculation.”

According to the report, Berlin is drafting a package with a number of measures aimed at easing Greek debt.

The issue, Kotthaus said, will be discussed during mid-2014, adding that troika officials will continue their evaluation process before a final report is published in November or December.

Kotthaus admitted that there are problems in plans to roll over Greek bonds held by European banks and other lenders, saying that several options are on the table.

He did not offer any more details, apart from repeating that a fresh haircut of Greek debt is out of the question.

Greece is set for some tough bargaining with the troika over a looming fiscal gap in the 2014 budget. Troika officials are demanding further cost-cutting measures after identifying a potential 2 billion shortfall in the latest budget draft submitted by Greece.

The conservative-led government has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of new austerity measures.