Juncker open to talks on extending Greek bailout timeframe

Substantial changes to Greece’s bailout terms are out of the question but discussions about extending the timeframe for some of the cuts are possible, Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday.

“There can be no discussions about changing the substance of the agreements but as I indicated three or four weeks ago we can by all means talk about extensions to the timeframe,» Juncker told Austrian radio.

“With the recession in Greece much deeper than originally foreseen we could talk about extending the timeframe. This depends however on Greece … not wishing to revisit the entire programme,» he told Oe1.

The comments followed a telephone conversation between Juncker and Antonis Samaras, Greece’s possible next prime minister after his conservative New Democracy came first in elections on Sunday, Juncker said.

Under the current conditions, Greece has to cut 11.5 billion euros ($14.5 billion) — the equivalent of five percent of its gross domestic product — by 2014 although Greek parties want this deadline to be extended to 2016.

A senior European Union official said ahead of talks among eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Thursday that it was «delusional to say we cannot or need not re-negotiate the Greek programme.”


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