Greece submits a formal request for a six-month extension to its euro zone loan agreement as it races to avoid bankruptcy - but its proposals immediately run into strong objections from Germany. Ciara Lee reports.
Not good enough - Germany's response to Greece's request for a six month loan extension. Athens offered up major concessions but ran into strong objections from the EU paymaster. The German finance ministry said the proposal was not ''a substantial solution", saying it failed to fulfil conditions of the country's bailout programme. That's due to expire in little more than a week. Athens urgently needs to secure a financial lifeline to keep the country afloat beyond late March. Talks collapsed earlier in the week when it rejected a plan to extend the 240 billion euro programme. But Charles Stanley's Chief Economist Jeremy Batstone-Carr is optimistic a solution will be reached. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHARLES STANLEY'S CHIEF ECONOMIST, SAYING: "In the euro zone, you enter into a form of marriage, a sort of knot, in which promises are made by both sides. So untying the knot requires a breach of promise by both sides. So there is a sort of scramble for the moral high ground going on at the moment. And it does appear to us that some sort of negotiated settlement will ultimately be reached." Greek banks have seen deposit outflows pick up in recent days. The ECB has agreed a modest increase in emergency funding for Greek banks. It's authorised an extra 3.3 billion euros in emergency cash. But the Greek Central Bank is said to have asked for more. What would happen if the ECB were to withdraw assistance is a concern. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, CHARLES STANLEY'S CHIEF ECONOMIST, SAYING: "Nobody expects that we are going to get to that but it is a big risk and of course would pose a further threat to the lasting stability and longevity of the euro zone." Markets took a tumble on Germany's comments as fears that a failure to reach a deal could force Greece out of the single currency Euro zone finance ministers will meet again on Friday in what's considered to be Greece's last chance to shore up a deal.