- Some analysts and policymakers argue that Greece should ask for a precautionary credit line.
- But Athens has vehemently denied all calls to ask for such a safety net.
- Effectively, no institution could ask Greece to request a credit line.
Greece and Europe both want to see the former exit its bailout program as scheduled in August. But that brings about a difficult decision on how that should take place.
Some analysts and policymakers argue that Greece should ask for a precautionary credit line — a buffer of money that Athens could use in case of an emergency — and thus make a smooth transition to the markets after nearly a decade of international financial aid.
But Athens has vehemently denied all calls to ask for such a safety net – come August, it wants to show that Greece has put its financial crisis behind it and is independent again, without international assistance.
Greece is seeking a clean exit from the bailout, meaning no tight monitoring from institutions such as the European Commission after August, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos told the Financial Times on Sunday.
"As long as its credit ratings are below investment grade, Greece will have to remain under an economic program in order to maintain access to the European Central Bank funding," Yvan Mamalet, senior euro economist at Societe Generale, told CNBC via email.
The ECB is restricted from buying Greek government bonds as none of the ratings agencies currently assess these with an investment grade.
"For this reason, we think it would make sense for Greece to request a precautionary credit line. On top of that, this would allow the Greek government to pursue a limited return to market access," Mamalet said.
Effectively, no institution could ask Greece to request a credit line. However, if turmoil was to return to financial markets and yields went up, the Greek government could find it difficult to finance itself. In this case, a credit line could be a good way to keep borrowing costs low.
But the Greek government believes it has already done enough to prepare for any unexpected events. It is seeking to create a buffer of about 19 billion euros ($23 billion) to cover debt repayments after the program ends in August.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Tsakalotos said that there's a limit as to how much money can be set aside. "You can't have a buffer as well as a precautionary credit line – how much money are you going to set aside?" he said.
The upcoming months will prove crucial to how Greece will exit the program and finds a way to finance itself. Two bailout reviews and consequent disbursements have to take place, ideally before June, and talks on debt restructuring also need to conclude before the summer.