Greece offers to extend automatic austerity mechanism

AP News
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Posted: Jan 24, 2017 12:51 PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's left-wing government says it is willing to extend an automatic austerity mechanism for one additional year in an effort to break the deadlock on current bailout negotiations.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzannakopoulos announced the proposal Tuesday ahead of a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers in Brussels later this week.

Known as "the chopper" in the Greek tabloid press, the Contingent Fiscal Mechanism allows spending cuts to be imposed without additional approval by parliament if ambitious budget targets for 2016-2018 are not met.

Athens is hoping to overcome delays in bailout talks to try to qualify for a European Central Bank bond-buying program that it argues is key to an economic recovery after years of decline and stagnation.