Greece stopped short of asking for aid in a letter seeking talks with EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials yesterday.
The Greek finance minister George Papconstantinou wrote seeking discussions on "a multi year programme of economic policies", but did not ask for the activation of the bail out mechanism recently agreed upon by European governments.
Mr Papconstantinou said his country's plans "could be supported with financial assistance form the Euro-area member states and the IMF, if the Greek authorities were to decide to request such assistance".
A Greek finance ministry official told Reuters that with the letter the country was "officially starting discussions about specifying the terms of the mechanism", which, if activated, would see Greece receive loans of up to €30bn from European loans, plus additional funds from the IMF. Teams from the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank are expected to visit Athens today, and the official saying that the missions would focus on the specific parameters of borrowing under the aid package. However, the finance minister's letter was "not the activation of the aid mechanism", the official added.
Ben May, an economist at Capital Economics, said the move suggested that Greece was indeed thinking of seeking aid. "The fact that they are asking for clarification on various issues about the mechanism suggests that they are seriously considering activating the package," he explained.Reuse content