Greece reported to be in talks about one-year deficit extension

Greece’s Finance Ministry is in talks with the country’s lenders to extend the period of fiscal adjustment by one year to 2015, according to reports.

Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis discussed the issue with International Monetary Fund officials in Washington over the weekend, according to Ta New newspaper.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who Sachinidis succeeded, has made the issue one of the central themes of his campaign. He says he will ask the troika to give Greece until 2015, rather than 2014, to reduce its public deficit.

"We believe that this will make the adjustment a little easier,» PASOK spokeswoman Fofi Gennimata told Skai TV on Thursday.

Poul Thomsen, the head of the International Monetary Fund team for Greece, is expected to visit the country on his own after the May 6 election before a mission visit takes place the following month.

IMF sources in Washington said that Thomsen is likely to conduct a staff visit that will last a couple of days to assess the situation in Greece following the election.

IMF representatives, as well as those from the European Central Bank and the European Commission, are expected to visit Athens in June to assess Greece’s progress in meeting fiscal targets and drawing up plans for cuts worth 5.5 percent of gross domestic product, or roughly 11 billion euros, in 2013 and 2014. 

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