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German Finance Ministry favours bridge loan for Greece - paper

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Finance Ministry favours 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 programme 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 programme.”

Greece is in negotiations with the European Union and International Monetary Fund for as much as 86 billion euros (60 billion pounds) 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

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