The new government, a fragile coalition which faces a strong far-Left opposition, has asked the EU for an extra two years to hit austerity targets set as part of the country's €240bn (£193bn) bail-out.

Eurozone finance ministers, relieved that a pro-bailout Greek government has been formed, saving the EU's single currency from almost certain break-up, are sympathetic to giving Greece more time.

But a Greek request for an extra €16bn to €20bn in extra aid to reduce 150,000 civil service job losses, minimum wage and pension cuts met with a hostile reception.

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