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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Euro leaders are giving Greece until Friday to sign on the dotted bailout line

Greece has called the deadline “absurd”.

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis after the unsuccessful meeting.
Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis after the unsuccessful meeting.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

LEADERS OF THE Eurozone are giving Greece until the end of the week to apply for an extension to its €240 billion bailout.

The latest deadline comes as a closely-watched meeting broke down without agreement yesterday when Athens refused eurozone finance ministers’ demand to apply for an extension.

Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the country had the rest of the week to make the request with Greece’s bailout expiring at the end of the month.

“Given the timelines we have… we can use this week but that is about it,” said Dijsselbloem, Dutch finance minister and a defender of austerity policies in the eurozone.

But an Athens source dismissed the demand to stick to its current bailout as “absurd”.

Greece’s new left-led government swept to power last month on a platform of overhauling the terms of the austerity-laden financial aid package, which it says has crippled the economy.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is looking for a six-month bridging loan to give Greece time and financial help to negotiate a new deal.

However the 18 other eurozone nations, led by Germany, say any changes must be within the current programme.

The breakdown hit the euro, which sank against the dollar and yen. The euro weakened further today before recovering back to its starting position.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Greece: ‘We will not be blackmailed into a bailout extension’ >

Read: Greece is two weeks away from running out of money – and returns to talks today >

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