Aug.21 - European Central bank executive Joerg Asmussen says there are no plans to boost Greece's bailout program before a spring review next year, a day after Germany's finance minister said a third aid programme would be needed to keep Athens afloat. Ciara Sutton reports.
The big bail-out debate continues - will Greece need a third one and when? ECB executive board member Joerg Asmussen is in Greece, and says the euro zone will consider measures to support the country as long as it sticks to its latest bailout conditions. But, he says, there's no plans to review the situation before next year. (SOUNDBITE) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK EXECUTIVE JOERG ASMUSSEN SAYING (English): "Until then, in all its aspects - and the debt at this point is then deemed to be still too high, then we will consider additional measures.." His comments come a day after German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's told an election campaign audience that Greece will need a third bailout. Berlin was quick to play down Schaeuble's comments, saying it's not aware of any discussions on how to structure a new rescue package. Asmussen was meeting Greece's finance minister as part of discussions on the country's stuttering progress on reforms, deficit cutting and shoring up its banks before fresh aid is released in October. (SOUNDBITE)(English) EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK EXECUTIVE JOERG ASMUSSEN SAYING: "I have huge respect for what has happened and I would suggest to continue with the reforms that have started, not to unravel the progress that has been made, but simply to show perseverance even if it's difficult to do so." Greece has already been bailed out twice since 2010 with 240 billion euros worth of deals coordinated by the ECB, European Union and International Monetary Fund. It had been expected to seek some form of additional debt relief sooner or later to bring its massive debt down to a manageable level, but the suggestion of a third bailout for Athens came as a surprise. Greece's international lenders are due to return to Athens later this year to reexamine whether Greece's debt is on sustainable footing and whether the government needs to find further savings to meet its targets.