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Eurogroup head confirms loan extension request from Greece

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(BRUSSELS) - Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem confirmed that Greek authorities had sent a request for a six-month extension to their EU loan programme, which will be discussed Friday.

"Received Greek request for six months extension," Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch finance minister, said on Thursday in a tweet, without giving any further details of the letter.

In a separate tweet, Dijsselbloem said finance ministers from the 19-member eurozone would meet in Brussels to consider the request in a third attempt to find a compromise with the new radical leftist government in Athens.

Europe and Greece are racing to reach a deal to avoid a Greek exit from the eurozone -- dubbed a "Grexit" -- after previous talks ended in acrimony with both sides digging in their heels.

Wording is key to resolve the feud, with Greece's ruling Syriza party swearing that it will not apply for an extension to the current bailout programme, and its hated austerity demands, but only an extension to the loan part of the rescue.

Eurozone partners, led by Germany, say the distinction is unacceptable, insisting that any extension include the austerity commitments of the full programme.

With his short tweet, Dijsselbloem carefully avoided touching the wording row altogether.

"Our proposition will be written in such a way that it will cover both the demands of the Greek side and the head of the Eurogroup," Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told reporters late Wednesday.


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