FT report suggests EU softening renegotiation stance

A report on Thursday suggested that European Union leaders are warming to the idea of softening some of the terms of Greece's bailout package following general elections on June 17 rather than risk incurring greater losses from a disorderly Greek default and a possible expulsion from the eurozone.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that officials in the EU are in the process of putting together a package of incentives for Greece to stick to the current bailout deal, including reduced interest and a longer repayment period for loans already disbursed, though the article does go on to say that the new deal relies on a New Democracy win in Sunday's polls.

“In the scenario where [ND's Antonis] Samaras wins the elections, they would like to see him committing very clearly to his adherence to the memorandum,” an EU official briefed on the discussions, was quoted by the Financial Times as saying. “They would then get together with the new Greek government and say: here is what we can now do to make life a bit sweeter, a bit less harsh.”

The Financial Times also suggests that the officials are pondering the possibility of extending the same deal to Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) leader Alexis Tsipras in the event that he he is able to form a government, given the leftist's softening stance on the bailout agreement.

The possibility of a better deal for cash-strapped Greece comes in contrast with previous statement by EU officials who earlier this week excluded extending any more help to Athens unless it commits fully to the current agreement with its creditors the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

However, according to the Financial Times report, officials said that they remained opposed to making bigger changes to the unpopular memorandum sought by many Greeks.


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