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Greece Granted Until Friday To Seek Bailout Extension

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The Eurogroup meeting concluded on Monday without much progress, as Greece resisted an extension of the current bailout program, while Eurozone ministers refused to loosen their terms.

The best way forward for the Greek authorities would be to seek an extension of the program, Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said at a press conference after the meeting in Brussels.

Athens has time to seek an extension of the program until Friday. Otherwise, the EUR 240 billion Greek bailout program will expire on February 28.

"The next step has to come from the Greek authorities," Dijsselbloem, who chaired the meeting said. They have to make up their mind to whether they will ask for an extension in the current program.

"If the request for an extension would come in, we would of course look at it, ask the institutions to review it and advise us," Dijsselbloem said.

In an e-mailed statement, a Greek official has called the existing bailout terms as "absurd" and "unacceptable".

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said nothing good has ever come out of ultimatum in Europe. Varoufakis said he is ready to sign another draft document presented by European Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

Jennifer McKeown, a senior European economist at Capital Economics, said the authorities may still be able to announce some progress later this evening at a press conference.

The European Central Bank is set to decide on whether to continue the emergency lending provided to Greek banks on Wednesday. Any failure to obtain funds will make it difficult for Greece to repay its hefty loans in March.

If the European Central Bank considers the talks to have stalled at the meeting on Wednesday, there is a risk that it will suspend the Emergency Liquidity Assistance, perhaps leaving Greece with no choice but to exit the euro-zone, the economist at Capital Economics said.

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