Athens (AFP) - Greece doesn't need a new bailout plan, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said Friday, despite markets lashing the country over the government's intention to exit its IMF aid programme early.
Greece is open to keeping open a precautionary credit line from the ESM -- the eurozone's bailout fund -- if it exits its IMF programme early, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said after meeting his European counterparts in Milan, his office said.
Such a credit line that would "protect our country from possible market disruptions, especially at a time when the world economy is showing sights of slowing, is an element of the discussions" Athens is holding with the EU and IMF, Samaras said.
He reiterated that Greece "doesn't have a need for a new memorandum", or aid programme.
"The talks at this moment are on how the country can progress in a stable manner ... in a post-memorandum era," said Samaras, according to his office.
Greece has signalled it may terminate its IMF programme early when its EU-ECB aid ends in December, despite $16 billion (12.5 billion euros) being left under the deal, which lasts until 2016.
After four years under a rescue plan by the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank -- the so-called troika -- worth about $300 billion overall, Athens has taken major steps toward repairing its finances.
However markets have showed their concerns that Greece won't be able to stand on its own feet, sending government bond yields soaring and stocks tumbling after news of the early exit.
The run on Greece, whose financial meltdown and debt writedown nearly destroyed the euro, came at a moment of wider concern that the eurozone could fall into recession and deflation amid a general slowdown in the world economy.
The ECB and EU both weighed in Thursday to halt the panic, and stocks and bond prices recovered somewhat on Friday.
Analysts see an early bailout exit for Greece as a move to bolster the political fortunes of Samaras's centre-right, socialist coalition government.
The strict bailout conditions have led to the left-wing anti-austerity Syriza party taking the lead in opinion polls, outpacing the coalition parties together.
Political observers believe exiting the bailout would help Samaras gain the extra votes the coalition needs to ensure the election of a president next year, without which an early vote would be triggered.
Samaris said his government still plans "to implement the reforms and economic restructuring programme" that the EU and IMF have advised for the country.
He said there was agreement about the country's exit from a bailout programme and at the moment there is a "serious discussion underway with our partners and creditors about a transitionary phase".