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Greece to push for revision of bailout by EU partners

Greece to push for revision of bailout by EU partners

Greece's left-wing government has drawn up a 10-point plan to replace 30% of its massive bailout deal, reports say.

Greece puts the plan to euro-zone finance ministers on Wednesday. But a swift deal is unlikely, with Greece being warned to abide by bailout terms.The Greek government easily won a confidence vote on Tuesday, on the eve of the meeting with EU officials. The EU-IMF bailout for debt-laden Greece expires on 28 February and Athens does not want it extended.

The government says the bailout conditions - sweeping public spending cuts and job losses - have impoverished Greece.

It rejects the "troika" team - the EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) - overseeing implementation of the €240bn (£182bn) bailout.However, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has insisisted Greece must not renege on the bailout conditions.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras's government won a confidence vote on Tuesday evening, as was expected, with the backing of its coalition partner, a small right-wing party. His government had the support of 162 deputies in the 300-seat parliament. "I want to repeat today, no matter how much Schaeuble asks it, we are not going to ask to extend the bailout," Mr Tsipras said, before the vote.

"Schaeuble is proposing irrational things, to ask for a perpetuation of the mistake," he said, referring to the 2010 bailout deal. The stakes are high because of fears that a Greek debt default could push it out of the euro, triggering turmoil in the EU. The new 10-point plan includes bond swaps to reduce Greece's debt mountain and a proposal to make the primary budget surplus target for this year 1.49% of GDP instead of the 3% demanded by its creditors, a Greek finance ministry source said.


The primary surplus is the surplus before interest payments are included.

Social spending

The BBC's Chris Morris in Athens has been told that some elements of the plan will show continuity with the bailout pro-gramme. A source, who declined to be named, said the government was committed to reducing the debt burden, but it was considering various ways of doing that, "of which debt swaps is just one".

It is also committed to increasing social spending to deal with Greece's "humanitarian crisis", the source said.

The government has spoken of reaching a "bridge agreement" with the EU and the IMF, credible enough for the ECB to continue lending to Greece, in order to prevent the country running out of money. Greece's debt currently stands at more than €320bn (£237bn) - about 174% of its economic output (GDP).

An EU spokeswoman, quoted by Reuters news agency, said: "We have low expectations that any final agreement will be tomorrow [in Brussels]" or at the EU summit scheduled for Thursday.

There are hopes however that a deal might be reached when eurozone finance ministers meet on Monday.

Last month's election of an anti-austerity government led by left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has raised fears that Greece could leave the Euro. Greece's Foreign Minister Nikolaos Kotzias is to visit Moscow on Wednesday. Syriza's election has led to suggestions that Greece could forge closer ties with Russia, although Greek officials have downplayed the idea.

The Greek Defence Minister, Panos Kammenos, said Greece might seek funding from Russia, China or the US if it failed to reach a new debt agreement with the eurozone.

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