Greece rejects ‘absurd’ EU bailout offer

Greece calls EU’s opening bailout offer as ‘absurd’ and ‘unacceptable’

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (Photo: EU)
Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (Photo: EU)

Greece has rejected an opening EU bailout offer as “absurd” and “unacceptable”, with a government official quoted as telling the media that “in these circumstance there cannot be a deal today”.

A leaked draft Eurogroup statement showed that the Eurogroup wanted the Greek authorities to agree they intended “to successfully conclude the programme, taking into account the new government’s plans”.

“In this context, we intend to make the best use of the existing built-in flexibility in the current programme,” the rejected draft statement read.

A Greek official said there would be no deal today, but talks are continuing.

"Some people's insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted," Reuters quoted the official as saying. "Those who keep returning to this issue are wasting their time. Under such circumstances, there cannot be a deal today."

Greece's government, led by the radical left-wing Syriza party, has said that the conditions of the €240bn bailout have made Greece penniless. The new government rejects the "troika" team - the EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) - overseeing the bailout's implementation.

The IMF and the EU say there should be no change to the conditions of the €240bn loan.

Greece's current bailout expires on 28 February and any new agreement would need to be approved by national governments.

Alexis Tsipras’s anti-austerity government wants to ditch part of the bailout and is asking for temporary funding until it can introduce a new four-year reform plan.

The Maltese government has already stated that Greece must repay its loan but was in favour of more flexible conditions.