February 10, 2015 / 5:20 PM / 5 years ago

No plan for Greece ready, Athens must extend bailout by Feb 16-Moscovici

ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Athens will have to ask for an extension of its current bailout to give itself and the euro zone time to hammer out a new agreement as there is no specific plan for Greece now, European Commissioner for Economics Pierre Moscovici said on Tuesday.

Moscovici said euro zone ministers, called the Eurogroup, would listen to Greece’s views at a meeting tomorrow and let Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis know what their opinion was, but an agreement to extend the bailout would have to be reached by Feb 16 to continue the talks.

“There is no specific plan on the table. Tomorrow the Eurogroup in Brussels is an opportunity for Greece to present its views,” Moscovici told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s top 20 economies.

“It will also be an occasion for (the Greek finance minister) to see how the euro zone ministers react to that,” Moscovici said.

Greece does not want to ask for an extension of the bailout, even by a few months, because the new Greek government won power in Jan 25th elections on slogans of ending the bailout and the fiscal consolidation and reforms that came with it.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has repeatedly said he would not ask for an extension of the programme, leaving little common ground with the euro zone, which does not want to move forward without it.

“They (Greece) know the programme is our reference and framework. We have to see what kind of solutions we can decide inside this framework, not outside it,” Moscovici said.

“Huge pragmatism and a lot of good will be required from all actors,” he said. (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski)

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