NEWS

Greece denies new loan deal is on its way

Greece has denied that it is set to agree a new loan package with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund as early as next month after running into more fiscal difficulties.

The Dow Jones news agency reported on Tuesday that Athens expected to receive the aid package in June and that it would cover Greece’s projected need of 27 billion euros in extra funds in 2012 and 32 billion in 2013.

However, a Finance Ministry official denied this was the case. «Greece is not holding any discussion on any new aid package,» a senior finance ministry official who requested anonymity told Reuters. «Such reports about discussions on new aid are not true.”

However, it is thought that giving further loans to Greece was one of the topics discussed at a meeting of several EU finance ministers in Luxembourg on Friday. Greece?s Giorgos Papaconstantinou took part in the talks.

Officials from the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, collectively known as the troika are due in Athens from Tuesday to check on Greece?s progress with its fiscal targets.

The government?s difficulties in meeting these targets is expected to lead to further discussions about Greece possible needing a new loan agreement to provide it with up to 100 billion euros over the next three years. Athens initially signed up to receive 110 billion euros between 2010 and 2013 but has already received close to half of this.

However, the signing of any such deal would mean that Greece would have to commit to taking more measures.

Kathimerini understands that a new loan memorandum would set out new goals and a time frame for the implementation of reforms and of a privatization drive that aims to raise 50 billion euros by 2015. It is expected that the government will be asked to announce another 6 to 7 billion euros? worth of austerity measures.

Meanwhile Greece?s eurozone partners have made it clear that they do not want to offer any more loans without guarantees. They want the country to use state assets as collateral for all the loans it receives.

Greece?s creditors have been pressing ruling PASOK to seek a consensus on reforms with the conservative opposition New Democracy. But, according to sources, ND leader Antonis Samaras has no intention of obliging, even if this prompts early elections.