Madrid: Eurozone nations are negotiating a third bailout worth as much as 50 billion euros (USD 56 billion) for Greece, Spain's economy minister said today.
But in a sign of the state of uncertainty surrounding the efforts to stabilise Greece's finances, the eurozone's top financial official denied the claim.
Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said at a conference in the northeastern city of Pamplona that a new bailout would provide between 30 billion euros and 50 billion euros. Its "central scenario for Greece is a deal on the basis of the current bailout, and new conditions to be set with flexibility."
"Greece will not leave the eurozone," the minister said, according to comments distributed to media outlets by his ministry. "That would not be good for Greece and for the eurozone."
Soon after those comments, the spokeswoman for the leader of the Eurogroup, the gathering of eurozone finance ministers of which de Guindos is a member, said she was unaware of talks for a third bailout.
The bailout that de Guindos outlined "is not something that is being discussed," said Simone Boitelle, the spokeswoman for Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is both finance minister for the Netherlands and chairman of the Eurogroup.
A Greek finance ministry official, speaking only on condition of anonymity, likewise denied there were any talks. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has ruled out a third bailout. Greece received a four-month extension on its rescue loans agreement but will need to make reforms in order to get more money. It faces a cash crunch as early as this month.
De Guindos made his comments a day after Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy responded angrily to his Greek counterpart's claim that Spain and Portugal have formed "an axis of forces" trying to overthrow Greece's newly elected far left government.