Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis answers a journalist's questions in a restaurant behind the new European Central Bank (ECB) headquarters in Frankfurt February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
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Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, on a whistlestop tour to drum up support for debt relief, said talks Wednesday at the European Central Bank had been "fruitful" and encouraging.Varoufakis and his Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras are on a charm offensive in Europe to drum up support for Athens' planned renegotiation of its 240 billion euro ($270 billion) bailout.The FT cited officials involved in deliberations as saying the ECB will refuse to raise an existing 15 billion euro cap on the amount of short-term treasury bills which Greek banks can place with the ECB in exchange for cash.Greece is looking to raise 10 billion euros in additional treasury bills -- but the ECB would need to raise the cap on such debt issuance to 25 billion.The Greek finance minister is pushing the idea of debt swaps that would avoid the need for creditors to accept "haircuts" on the country's 315 billion euro foreign debt, while easing the monthly financing burden on the Athens government.The Greek government denied that the debt swaps proposal was a climbdown from election promises to force a renegotiation of its debt terms.
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