Greece bailout: skepticism ahead of Eurogroup meeting

- German finmin 'very sceptical' over reaching Greece bailout deal.

By Ilgin Karlidag

BRUSSELS (AA) - Several eurozone finance ministers have expressed scepticism over the chances of reaching a solution to the dispute with the new Greek government over the country's bailout terms ahead of a meeting aimed at resolving the showdown.

Greece’s leftist Syriza party, elected on the promise that it would end austerity measures, will continue its demand for changes to the country’s massive bailout at the meeting with finance ministers from the 19-country eurozone in Brussels on Monday.

Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said: "From what I've heard from the technical discussions, I'm very skeptical."

The meeting is the latest attempt to find a way forward to the row after the ministers discussed the dispute last Wednesday.

Austria’s Finance Minister Hans Jörg Schelling told reporters ahead of the meeting: "I have no expectations for today because the experiences we had last Wednesday means you can agree something, but you cannot finish this agreement with a statement."

- 'Difficult problem'

Ireland’s Finance Minister Michael Noonan said: "I would like it if the Greek finance minister [Yanis Varoufakis] were to put specific requests for the meeting today. 

"I think the ball is back on the Greek court again."

Austrian Finance Minister Schelling pointed out that Greece’s current bailout runs out by the end of this month.

"We think that it's possible to find such a solution, but it’s very difficult -- it’s a problem of days, not weeks," Schelling said. 

- Emergency funding

The meeting comes after the European Central Bank last week announced a $5 billion emergency loan to Greek banks, which have seen a run on their deposits as Greeks remove their savings out of concern the bailout crisis will not be resolved.

The European Central Bank has stopped accepting Greek bonds and state-guaranteed bank bonds as collateral for bank funding, meaning the only source Greek banks have for euro liquidity is emergency funding from the European Central Bank.

The newly-elected Greek government has announced it does not wish to extend its bailout deal under which the country maintains payments on its €316 billion ($357 billion) debt.

Greece has until Feb. 28 to come to an agreement with its international creditors or the government will run out of public funds.

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