No extension to Greece's aid programme, says Berlin
(BERLIN) - Germany said on Friday that the terms of a crucial aid package for Greece should not be changed, after a report said Chancellor Angela Merkel would allow Athens "a few weeks" more to meet its commitments.
Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told a regular government briefing that "both the content and the timeframe of the memorandum are not up for debate," referring to the aid agreement between Greece and its creditors.
The memorandum "is the necessary precondition for further cooperation," added the spokesman.
"Greece should receive the help it needs to stabilise it within the eurozone, to regain competitiveness, to have more stable and solid finances. This will be a long path and can only happen if Greece makes big, big efforts," he concluded.
Seibert however declined to comment on a report in the Rheinische Post daily that said Merkel was prepared to offer Athens an extension of "a few weeks" to hit their targets.
Citing government sources, the paper said Greece's request to extend by two years the deadline to meet its required targets was "not acceptable" and that there should also be no change to the content of the accord.
Economy Minister Philipp Roesler told German radio earlier Friday he had the impression that the team of international inspectors auditing Greece's progress -- known as the "Troika" -- was "running out of patience" with Athens.
The Rheinische Post also reported that Greece has failed to hit some 210 targets from more than 300.
On Thursday, the International Monetary Fund said Greece had failed to meet a number of targets in its bailout program, insisting it was too soon to discuss revisions to the plan.
Greek authorities have stressed that due to a more severe recession than expected, they should be given more time to meet their fiscal adjustment targets.
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