'Disaster' Moves Closer to Greece! Greece’s crunch talks with its European creditors broke down after just four hours today, pushing the country closer towards a potential exit from the single currency. Greece refused to countenance an extension of the existing €172bn bailout programme, while the rest of the eurozone’s finance ministers said this was a non-negotiable first step to talks. “There is no alternative to a request to an extension of the programme” said Pierre Moscovici, the European Commission’s economics and financial affairs commissioner. That was echoed by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the chairman of the Eurogroup. “It is up to the Greek authorities now to decide whether they would want such an extension” he said. “There was a very strong opinion across the whole Eurogroup that it has to come from the Greek authorities… They have to make up their mind whether they will ask for an extension of the current programme.” Mr Dijsselbloem said there could be a new Eurogroup meeting on Friday if Greece requested an extension over the next few days. However, the Greek side suggested that Mr Dijsselbloem had gone back on an earlier understanding by trying to push Greece into extending the existing agreement. A draft text leaked from the Brussels meeting of eurozone finance ministers contained the suggestion that Greece would “successfully conclude the [bailout] programme” and “request a six-month technical extension”. The Athens government has repeatedly said it will not agree to continue with the existing programme, which it blames for pushing Greece into a deep economic depression. It is instead demanding a bridge loan from creditors until the summer while an entirely new programme can be fashioned. It wants this to include a cancellation of a large tranche of the country’s debt and an easing of the requirement for Greece to run primary budget surpluses for the forseeable future. More