Greece says has no cash problem, to present plan next week

Sat Feb 7, 2015 11:20am EST
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By Renee Maltezou

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece said on Saturday it had no short-term cash problem and that it will hand its European Union partners a comprehensive plan next week for managing the transition to a new debt deal.

The EU has warned time is running out to avoid a financing crisis in Greece.

The new left-wing government in Athens has rejected the austerity that was forced upon the country by an EU/International Monetary Fund bailout and instead says it wants a "bridge agreement" until it has negotiated a new deal.

"We will present a comprehensive proposal on Wednesday," Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said, referring to a meeting of euro zone finance ministers in Brussels on that day.

Varoufakis was attending a cabinet meeting called to prepare the government's overall policy program, which Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will present to parliament on Sunday.

On Friday, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chairs the Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers, told Reuters that Greece had to apply for an extension of its reform-for-loans plan by Feb. 16 to ensure the euro zone keeps backing it financially.

This is essentially an extension of the current bailout, something Greece has said it does not want and will not accept. It is due a 7.2 billion euro trance from the EU/IMF bailout, which it says it does not want because of the austerity strings attached.

Instead, Athens wants authority from the euro zone to issue more short-term debt to tide it over until a new deal is agreed, and to receive already-agreed profits that the European Central Bank and other central banks have gained from holding Greek bonds.   Continued...

Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis speaks on his phone upon arriving for a government meeting at the parliament building in Athens February 7, 2015.  REUTERS/Kostas Tsironis