Antonis Samaras has said the Greek economy may recover in six years (Reuters)
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has urged the country's lenders to be less severe and to not impose more austerity measures in order to receive more bailout cash.
His appeal comes ahead of an inspection by officials from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank on Sunday.
The country's economy, which has shrunk by 23% since 2008, has received two aid packages totalling around €240bn (£205bn, $321bn) and will reportedly need about €10bn more to cover a funding gap.
The investigation will determine the size of a third bailout to keep the debt-laden country afloat.
But a Greek finance ministry official said that the government expects its budget gap over 2015 and 2016 to be "well below" 2% of GDP because of a boost in tourism.
Recovery in Sight?
Samaras also declared on Monday that the country's economy could recover in six years.
"According to most, we will not need a couple of decades, not a couple of generations, but only six years to get back at the pre-crisis levels of our standard of living and GDP," says Samaras.
The New Democracy leader, who leads Greece's fragile coalition government, warned that "populism" and "extremism" could derail the troubled country's apparent turn in fortunes.
"This is what makes these next few months crucial," says Samaras.
"They are not the most difficult; but they are the most politically sensitive."
But the 62-year-old's words of caution may have fallen on deaf ears.
Thousands of protestors clashed with police in Athens after a 45-year-old Golden Dawn neo-Nazi group member allegedly fatally stabbed a leftist hip hop artist and anti-fascist in the country's capital.
The brawl apparently broke out at a cafeteria between the two men over the Oympiakos vs Paris St. Germain Champions League match.
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