Germany preparing new Greek aid package - Spiegel

BERLIN Sat Feb 1, 2014 3:24pm EST

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BERLIN Feb 1 (Reuters) - Germany's finance ministry is preparing the ground for a third aid package for Greece before European elections in May, Der Spiegel weekly and its website reported on Saturday, citing a five-page ministry 'position paper'.

The possibilities outlined include a further debt haircut that would mainly hit public creditors or a "limited additional programme" in which Greece could receive fresh money from the European rescue fund, the report said.

The package could amount to 10 billion to 20 billion euros, said Der Spiegel, and would be tied to commitments from Athens to undertake reforms with more vigour.

A spokesman for the finance ministry denied that a new debt writedown was planned for Greece.

"There is no new situation," said the spokesman and referred to previous statements made by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

The minister has in the past said there could be a remaining need for some refinancing but any further package would be far smaller than the aid granted so far.

Greece has received 240 billion euros of support in two aid packages from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the euro zone since 2010 in return for spending cuts and reforms.

A senior EU official said last month that Greece was not in urgent need of funds now and extra money would only be needed when Greece must pay back debt. Its next big redemption date is in mid-May. (Reporting by Christina Amann; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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