Former Greek Interior Minister and former New Democracy conservative party lawmaker Prokopis Pavlopoulos (L) is greeted by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at his office in Athens, February 17, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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A war of words between Greece and EU paymaster Germany escalated Tuesday with Athens' new leftist prime minister rejecting what he called "blackmail" to extend an international bailout and vowing to rush through laws to reverse labor reforms.Behind the scenes, a source familiar with the talks in Brussels said Greece Wednesday intends to ask for an extension for up to six months of its loan agreement with the eurozone, on conditions that are still under negotiation. He drew a distinction between a loan agreement and the full bailout program. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis – an academic economist – dismissed suggestions that his only option was to ask for the bailout to be extended. He said he had been ready to sign a text floated by EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici that Greek officials said called for the "loan agreement" to be extended as part of a "transition" to a new deal.
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