Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras requested on Friday that European Union and International Monetary Fund creditors extend a €237 billion bailout package for a grace period of two years to help the country survive its fifth year of recession.
If Greece is to get back on the growth track, some reforms that its bailout loan agreements require could take longer than currently planned, Samaras said in a speech to the Hellenic Parliament as he presented his newly elected three-party coalition government's targets for the next four years.
In return, the government would strive to meet the budget commitments that creditors were demanding, Samaras said.
Greece is fighting to stay in the euro zone. The country has been struggling to make economic reforms foisted by international creditors in exchange for rescue loans. Greece's budget shortfalls and dismal climate were exacerbated by lingering political instabilities that led to two parliamentary elections within six weeks in May and June.
The prime minister's request for an extension to 2016 to bring the country's gaping deficit down to the EU ceiling comes at a time of rising investor skepticism in the wake of the IMF's gloomy outlook for global growth amid a protracted crisis in Europe and disappointing U.S. jobs data.
Samaras has also promised to push for privatization and to shut down many state entities by the end of this year to stimulate the economy.