LONDON — Greece is preparing to leave the European Community after years of economic stagnation and debt repayments, a senior government official said on Tuesday, as it tries to secure financial help from the EU for a deal to leave.
The Greek government said on its website it would seek an additional $3.2 billion in EU aid for Athens to ease the financial burden from the debt relief, which it said would be paid in two installments over four years, to be paid out by January 2021.
The government has not yet said what it will offer to the bloc, which has been offering a variety of financial aid packages to Greece in recent months, including €2 billion for the country’s next fiscal year, and a new €4 billion for 2020.
In a statement, the Greek government acknowledged that the EU’s “financial support package” is not sufficient to allow Athens to remain a member of the bloc.
Greece was one of only two EU countries to miss the target date of joining the bloc in March 2019, following Greece’s exit from the euro zone.
The other, Malta, also missed the deadline by two years.
A Greek government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the country was preparing to ask the EU to provide additional financial support in exchange for Athens leaving the bloc if it fails to reach an agreement.
The official said Greece was preparing for a new round of debt relief in the first quarter of 2020, with the debt repayment starting in the second quarter.
“Greeks are ready for a more substantial amount of debt repayances, as well as for new economic reforms, which we believe will be a good starting point,” the official said.
A number of Greek political parties have already expressed concerns that the debt would be used to pay for a debt relief package, and the government has said that any debt relief would be in line with the countrys previous bailout terms.
The EU and Greece have been negotiating over a debt restructuring package for years, which was announced in February 2018 and was to include a loan for Greece of about €1.9 billion.