A man adjusts a Greek (L) and a European flag outside the Greek embassy in Brussels February 19, 2015.REUTERS/Yves Herman
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Greece formally requested a six-month extension to its eurozone loan agreement Thursday, offering major concessions as it raced to avoid running out of cash within weeks, but immediately ran into strong objections from EU paymaster Germany.Berlin's reaction was hostile, with the Finance Ministry describing the Greek proposal as "not a substantial solution" as it failed to fulfill conditions of an EU/IMF bailout program which leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to ditch when he won an election last month.With the program due to expire in little more than a week, Athens urgently needs to secure a financial lifeline to keep the country afloat beyond late March.However, the document stopped short of accepting that Greece should achieve this year a surplus on the primary budget – which excludes repayments on Greece's huge debts – equal to 3 percent of the country's annual economic output, as promised under the bailout deal.Greek stocks initially rose on Thursday's developments, with the benchmark Athens stock index up 2 percent but slipped back after the German statement, being up just 0.6 percent on the day.
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