In talks with Draghi, Hardouvelis expresses opposition to third loan program

In talks with European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Milan, Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis has reiterated the Greek government’s opposition to the prospect of a third loan program for the country, which is just beginning to see signs of an economic upturn following a recession exacerbated by four years of austerity.

According to sources, Hardouvelis, who had a brief unofficial meeting with Draghi on Thursday ahead of Friday’s Eurogroup summit, stressed that the Greek government is unwilling to accept a third bailout with the tough terms such a package would entail.

Draghi is said to have underlined his conviction that Greece should remain under economic supervision, possibly under a renewed program.

Banking officials indicated that a new program for Greece would mean that the ECB could accept low grade Greek bonds as collateral in exchange for much-needed liquidity. Currently the ECB provides some 44.6 billion euros in liquidity for the Greek market.

At the Eurogroup summit on Friday, Hardouvelis was expected to push for the troika to ease the pressure for some of the reforms Greece has pledged, to allow some tax breaks to be introduced and to permit Athens to pursue its reform program with more freedom.

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