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Merkel, Hollande meet to discuss Greek bailout

The German and French leaders will discuss the possibility of extending the time limit on the Greek bailout before meetings with Greece’s prime minister tomorrow and Saturday.

File photo of Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel
File photo of Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel
Image: Michel Euler/AP/Press Association Images

ANGELA MERKEL AND Francois Hollande are to meet today to discuss the conditions of the Greek bailout and consider giving the country more time to make necessary budget cuts.

Yesterday Greece’s prime minister Antonis Samaras said the country was not looking for extra money but needs a little “air to breathe” to get the economy going and increase state income.

In recent weeks some German politicians have spoken openly about the possibility of a Greek exit from the euro but the Greek government insists the country must remain in the currency zone, a view opinion polls in the country support.

On SWR  radio today German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said giving Greece more time to implement  necessary structural reforms and austerity measures would not solve its severe problems.

“More time would, in case of doubt, mean more money” and the eurozone had already gone to its very limits in hammering out the deal with Athens last year, the minister argued.

It was not an issue “of being more generous or less generous” but about finding a way for the eurozone as a whole to regain the confidence of the financial markets, Schaeuble argued.

As part of a rescue package with its international creditors, Greece has committed to slashing some €11.5 billion from spending over two years from 2013.

Samaras will travel to Germany tomorrow and France on Saturday to meet with the two European leaders and it is reported he wants to discuss extending the bailout period to four years.

The German government has insisted that there can be no wiggle room for Greece either in terms of the substance of the reforms and cuts it must make or in terms of the time it takes to achieve them.

A team of auditors from Troika is due to report next month on whether Greece has done enough to unlock a further tranche of aid to stave off bankruptcy.

-Additional reporting by AFP and Associated Press

Read: Greek PM suggests further budget cuts ahead of German talks>

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