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EU finance ministers have urged Greece to prepare new budget cuts to reach a deal with international creditors more quickly to prevent a chaotic default.
Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who also chairs the meetings of eurozone finance ministers, called on the officials of Greece as well as the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday to reach a conclusion within days.
All parties need “to agree the key parameters of an ambitious adjustment program as soon as possible,” Juncker said.
The importance of finalizing the deal comes as Greece is due to repay a loan worth EUR 14.5 billion on March 20, 2012, for which it lacks the necessary funds.
Greece is therefore waiting to receive a second EUR 130-billion bailout. The deal, which was agreed upon by all sides in 2011, is yet to be approved as EU and IMF officials have asked Greece to enact more austerity cuts.
Athens has already implemented harsh austerity measures in return for a first EUR 110-billion bailout it received in 2010.
The Greek public debt is currently around EUR 350 billion, which is more than 160 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).
Despite the austerity cuts and the bailout funds, which have been aimed at stimulating growth for the troubled Greek economy, the country has been in recession since 2009.
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