Brussels: Eurozone ministers moved towards throwing twice bailed out Greece a new credit line on Thursday, that would come with conditions over its handling of budget and continued oversight by the International Monetary Fund.
"Taking into account the still fragile market sentiment and the many reform challenges ahead there is strong support for a precautionary credit line," said Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
Dijsselbloem, who is also the Dutch Finance Minister, said there was "broad consensus" that the Washington-based IMF remain involved in the new plan, though there "needed to be further discussion" about how that would take place.
Athens is set to end the EU-side of its 240 billion-euro ($300 billion) international bailout at the end of the year, and earlier hinted it was seeking to break its bailout ties altogether in a move that spooked the markets.
But Greece earlier this week backed off the plans saying it was ready for a "new relationship" with international creditors in 2015.
Dijsselbloem said the financing of the new credit line was still unknown, but the operation would be far smaller than the previous plans, with the figure of 11 billion euros, the amount left in the bailout`s Greek bank recapitalisation fund, often floated.
The IMF portion of the Greek bailout runs until 2016 and many EU member states, wary of an unsupervised Athens, would like Brussels to stay linked to that programme.
The thought of Greece going it alone without some form of international support and oversight has also panicked the markets, sending stock prices in Athens plummeting and Greek interest rates climbing to alarmingly high levels.