BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Finance Ministry favors a bridge loan for Greece to give Athens and its creditors sufficient time to negotiate a comprehensive third bailout, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily reported on Friday.
"A program that should last three years and be worth over 80 billion euros needs a really solid basis," the paper quoted a ministry source as saying. "A further bridge loan is better than just a half-finished program."
Greece is in negotiations with the European Union and International Monetary Fund for as much as 86 billion euros ($94 billion) in fresh loans to stave off financial ruin and economic collapse.
A 3.5-billion-euro debt payment to the European Central Bank falls due on Aug. 20 and without a bailout deal, Athens would need bridge financing.
The reported German preference for a bridge loan contrasts with the view of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and French President Francois Hollande, who said on Thursday a new bailout should be agreed by late August.
Reporting by Caroline Copley; editing by John Stonestreet