ECB’s Asmussen Says Greece Needs More Aid If Given More Time

European Central Bank Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said any proposal to give Greece more time means it will need more aid.

“As long as a country has a primary deficit,” giving it more time to meet its fiscal targets automatically means “that there is an additional external financing need,” Asmussen said at a panel discussion in Berlin today.

Greek election winner Antonis Samaras is seeking to build a coalition to keep aid flowing after key rival, anti-bailout party Syriza, rejected his offer to join a government. The vote forced Greeks, in a fifth year of recession, to choose open-ended austerity to stay in the euro or reject the terms of a bailout and risk the turmoil of exiting the union.

The so-called troika of representatives from the ECB, International Monetary Fund and European Commission will visit Greece as soon as a government has been formed, Asmussen said.

Greece’s primary deficit, which excludes interest payments, was 2.4 billion euros in the year’s first five months, down from 4.6 billion euros a year ago, the Athens-based Finance Ministry said June 12. The target was 4.2 billion euros.

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