NEWS

Greece must get new program ‘very quickly,’ says Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that preparations must be sped up to hammer out a fresh bailout package for debt-choked Greece.

?Greece must get a new program very quickly, in very, very short order,? said Merkel ahead of a gathering of European Union’s finance ministers in Brussels that was also expected to focus on Italy’s precarious finances.

European governments are worried of a contagion effect across the Continent from the Greek crisis. The Socialist government in Athens has come under fire from foreign officials for failing to move with its ambitious, yet complicated, privatization campaign which is expected to raise 50 billion euros in proceeds by 2015, including 5 billion this year.

A report in the Financial Times on Monday said that European leaders were considering a new plan that would involve Athens defaulting on some of its bonds.

The idea, said to be discussed during Monday’s Eurogroup meeting, would ease pressure on the debt-ridden nation by lowering interest rates on bailout loans and offering a broad-based bond buyback program