The Greek Ministry of Finance has denied reports that the country must close a 20 billion euro ($26 billion) budget shortfall in order to meet requirements from international lenders. German magazine Der Spiegel reported the shortfall - almost double previous estimates - over the weekend.
A ministry representative said that Greece is negotiating a 11.5-billion-euro cut in expenditures with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund - the so-called Troika of international lenders. The country will also find a way to raise 2 billion euros in revenue. Greece can only receive the next tranche of financial aid from its international creditors once its budget gap is closed.
A final agreement on budget cuts is not expected until next week, the ministry representative said. Greece and representatives of the country's international lenders have agreed to take a week-long break from inconclusive talks.
European stock markets posted broad-based losses in early trading this morning, over concerns about Greece's reported wider-than-expected budget shortfall.
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