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Brussels: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said that Greece’s latest proposal for a third bailout package from its international creditors is “insufficient”.

Schauble gave his assessment on Saturday, upon arriving at an extraordinary meeting of Eurozone finance ministers, who are evaluating Athens’ last-ditch proposal aimed at remaining in the 19-nation Eurogroup.

The southern European country is seeking more than 50 billion Euros ($56 billion) through 2018 in exchange for carrying out a package of austerity measures it says total some 12 billion Euros.

The proposals made by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras do not allow an “easy outcome”V said the German minister, who represents Athens’ main creditor, warning of “extremely difficult negotiations” during Saturday’s meeting and reiterating that the suggestion of debt relief was off the table because that would violate EU treaties.

Schauble expressed skepticism even though Greece’s latest proposal includes several key demands of the Athens’ so-called troika of creditors, the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, including sales-tax hikes and cuts to government spending on pensions.

Many observers said the latest proposal was nearly identical to a European blueprint that Tsipras urged his countrymen to reject in a plebiscite last weekend.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper reported on Saturday that the German finance ministry is planning to propose a temporary five-year Grexit, the common term for a Greek exit from the Euro, as a way for Athens to resolve its debt crisis while still remaining in the European Union.

The Greek government is officially in arrears to the IMF, having missed a payment of 1.5 billion Euros ($1.7 billion) that was due on June 30.

Athens found itself unable to make the payment after failing to reach agreement with the troika on the disbursement of the remaining 15.5 billion Euros ($17.3 billion) of a second rescue package for Greece.

Syriza won election in January on a promise to throw off troika-mandated austerity that has pushed Greece’s unemployment rate above 25 percent even as the ratio of debt to gross domestic product has soared amid an economic contraction of more than 20 percent.

(IANS)


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