Merkel says EU focused on current Greek bailout

4th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that the EU was focused on completing Greece's current bailout, playing down any talk of a third rescue package for debt-hit Athens.

Speaking in Brussels after talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, Merkel said work was still under way to implement the terms of last month's deal to extend Greece's current programme until June.

"We are currently doing all that we possibly can to ensure that the second programme be successful," Merkel told a press conference when asked about the possibility of a third Greek bailout.

"The Bundestag (German parliament) has voted in favour (of an extension) so we now need to implement what was agreed in the Eurogroup" of eurozone finance ministers in February.

"The Troika (of Greece's creditors, the EU, ECB and IMF) is going to assess all of this and I think we've got plenty to be getting on with to make this agreement work, that's what I want to focus on."

Juncker meanwhile said it was "premature" to talk of a new bailout to add to the 2010 and 2012 rescue packages worth a combined 240 billion euros that saved Greece from bankruptcy and leaving the euro.

"I think it's really premature to be talking in terms of a third programme, that's speculation and I think it's best avoided," he said, urging Greece however to avoid any "unilateral" measures.

Greece new hard-left government has repeatedly rejected talk of a third bailout, saying it wants a new deal with its creditors that would restructure its mountain of debt and which eases tough austerity measures.

But speculation about a third Greek bailout has mounted in recent days with Spain insisting that it is on the cards and Greece still unable to regain access to the financial markets before its current programme expires in June.

© 2015 AFP

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