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Monday, February 16, 2015

Greece Rejects New Bailout Offer From Europe

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a press conference during a European Union summit at the EU Headquarters in Brussels on February 12, 2015. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gives a press conference during a European Union summit at the EU Headquarters in Brussels on February 12, 2015. (John Thys/AFP/Getty Images)

The eurozone’s top official on Monday effectively gave Greece an ultimatum to request an extension to the country’s bailout program, a proposal Athens has so far rejected stridently.

Greece and its eurozone creditors have been at an impasse over how to lighten the country’s bailout loans.

Athens would like to scrap the existing bailout program and instead agree on a “bridging program” to support its finances. Greece’s new government blames the current bailout program for inflicting budget austerity on the country and has promised its electors it would get rid of it.

The eurozone creditors, however, say the current program should be extended in order to get more time to agree on a lasting solution.

Speaking after a meeting of the euro’s finance ministers wrapped up early, Jeroen Dijsselbloem says another meeting is possible this Friday but that it’s “up to the Greeks.”

“My strong preference is and still is to get an extension of the program, and I think it is still feasible,” he told a press conference.

He said a “positive outcome” is still possible if Greece asks for an extension of its current bailout program. Dijsselbloem insists there is “flexibility” in the current program.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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