*Greece Intends to Ask for Bailout Extension Wednesday, Says Official
(UPDATE TO COME)
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday called for European leaders to hold a summit on his country’s funding needs, a day after talks between finance ministers collapsed over what conditions could be attached to new aid.
Tsipras’s comments to parliament in Athens indicate that his government is still resisting pressure from the rest of the eurozone to seek an extension to Greece’s current €240 billion ($ 272.52 billion) bailout, which expires at the end of the month. The Greek government insists that budget cuts and economic overhauls mandated by that rescue deal are hurting its economy and society and that the currency union’s finance ministers haven’t offered sufficient leeway on implementing those measures.
“Negotiation with our partners is not a technical issue but is deeply political. That is why they cannot wind up in a few hours,” Tsipras said. “The solution to the…impasse [among finance ministers] will not be given by technocrats, but by the political leaders of Europe.”
Until now, the rest of the eurozone has rejected getting heads of state and government involved in the Greek talks, saying the issue should remain in the hands of finance ministers. On Monday night, after abruptly cutting short talks among the ministers in Brussels, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who presides over the meetings with his eurozone counterparts, said that there were no plans for a special summit. That stance was echoed by several ministers on Tuesday.