Greece defies creditors, seeking credit but no bailout

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A protester waves a Greek national flag during anti-austerity pro-government demonstration in front of the parliament in Athens

BY RENEE MALTEZOU AND INGRID MELANDER

Talks between Greece and euro zone finance ministers over the country’s debt crisis broke down on Monday when Athens rejected a proposal to request a six-month extension of its international bailout package as “unacceptable”.

The unexpectedly rapid collapse raised doubts about Greece’s future in the single currency area after a new leftist-led government vowed to scrap the 240 billion euro ($272.4 billion) bailout, reverse austerity policies and end cooperation with EU/IMF inspectors.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who chaired the meeting, said Athens had until Friday to request an extension, otherwise the bailout would expire at the end of the month. The Greek state and its banks would then face a looming cash crunch.

How long Greece can keep itself afloat without foreign support is uncertain. The euro fell against the dollar after the talks broke up but with Wall Street closed for a holiday, the full force of any market reaction may only be felt on Tuesday.

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