Greek PM Seeks More Time to Make Reforms, Cuts

Posted August 24th, 2012 at 10:05 am (UTC-5)
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Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has told German Chancellor Angela Merkel his country needs more time to carry out economic reforms.

He spoke Friday after meeting with Ms. Merkel in Berlin. Ms. Merkel said she is convinced that authorities in Athens are doing everything they can to solve the problems Greece is facing. She also said Germany supports Greece's efforts and wants Greece to remain part of the eurozone.

Mr. Samaras said he is not asking for any more aid than already promised, but said Greece needs more “breathing space” to carry out its reforms. He did not say how much more time Greece needs beyond its mid-2014 deadline to carry out reforms.

If Greece fails at reform efforts, it will be forced to default on its debts and could be forced out of the eurozone.

Mr. Samaras' comments echoed similar statements he made to the German newspaper Bild earlier this week.

However, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told German radio this week that more time would mean more money.

Mr. Samaras will take his diplomatic bid to Paris on Saturday for a meeting with French President Francois Hollande.

Greece's creditors have demanded it impose significant austerity measures to cut its deficit in exchange for $295 billion in bailouts.

Greek leaders must still agree on $14 billion in cuts to secure the release of a new portion of the aid in September and avoid a default on its loans.

The country's economy has been in recession for five years, and the unemployment rate is more than 23 percent.