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German Finance Ministry: Third Greek aid deal unavoidable

Germany's finance minister has admitted that debt-stricken eurozone member Greece will definitely need a third bailout program to keep afloat in the next couple of years.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble admitted for the first time that a third rescue package for Greece was inevitable.

"There will have to be another program for Greece," he told an election campaign audience in northern Germany. His comments raised the likelihood of a measure that was bound to be deeply unpopular domestically just five weeks before a general election in the country.

Europe's biggest economy provides the largest share of bailouts, and Chancellor Angela Merkel had been extremely cautious of late to push ahead with promises of even more financial aid for Athens and, like Wolfgang Schäuble, had insisted there would not be another debt haircut.

Painful measures

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New Greek haircut debate

German ECB Executive Board member Jörg Asmussen was due to visit Greece on Wednesday to discuss progress on reforms required to ensure more bailout money.

Athens received an aid tranche of 5.8 billion euros ($7.75 billion) from its international lenders in July and hopes to get another one billion euros in October.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday called on fellow ministers to speed up the reform process to qualify for another shot in the arm.

"All deadlines will be met," government representatives said in a televised interview. The emphasis is currently on the sacking of 4,000 civil servants, faster privatization of state assets and the introduction of a new real estate tax to increase public revenues.

hg/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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