Greek PM Tsipras asks European Union for a new bailout program

A file picture of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras talking ot the press at the European Council headquarters on June 11, 2015 PHOTO: REUTERS
A file picture of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras talking ot the press at the European Council headquarters on June 11, 2015 PHOTO: REUTERS

ATHENS (BLOOMBERG) - Greece requested a new two-year bailout program from the euro region as the country edged closer toward a financial precipice hours away.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras asked for the aid from the European Stability Mechanism, according to a statement from his office.

The request is to cover all of the country's financial needs for the next two years, along with a debt-restructuring plan, the Greek government said. The government will continue negotiations seeking a "viable agreement" within the euro area, it said.

The proposal didn't include any of the economic-reform measures European negotiators had sought for months.

The move is the latest attempt by Greece to force the hand of international creditors after talks broke down over the weekend.

Mr Tsipras called a surprise referendum for July 5 on the latest package of austerity measures. European leaders have said it's ultimately a vote on whether to stay in the euro. Greece's government said it will miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund today and the country is preparing to exit the protection of Europe's bailout regime at midnight.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers Tuesday that Germany won’t enter into new aid negotiations with Greece before its weekend referendum, a parliamentarian said.  “Before the referendum Germany can’t negotiate a new request” for assistance, Ms Merkel was quoted as saying by a lawmaker of her conservative Christian Democrats.