Eurozone Greek bailout talks begin in Brussels

Dec 8, 2004
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#1
Eurozone finance ministers having begun talks in Brussels aimed at secuing a second vital bailout for Greece.

They have said they are hopeful of reaching a deal, with France's Finance Minister Frederic Baroin saying all of the elements are in place.

But his Greek counterpart Evangelis Venizelos said haggling would go on "until the very last minute".

Athens needs the 130bn euros (£110bn; $170bn) in order to avoid bankruptcy next month, when loans must be repaid.
The rescue plan would also write off 100bn euros of debt, with private lenders accepting a 70% reduction in what Greece owes them.

In return, they would receive cash and new bonds, expected to mature in 30 years' time.

It is the second time Greece has sought a bailout from international lenders.

Jean-Claude Juncker - prime minister of Luxembourg and chairman of the eurozone finance ministers group - said Greece had fulfilled many of the conditions asked of it and he was hopeful the talks would be "the final consultations".

"I am of the opinion that today we have to deliver, because we don't have any more time," he said.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also said he was "optimistic" a deal would be reached, while Mr Baroin said he would plead for the deal.

"All the elements are in place... both with the bankers, private sector creditors, and public sector creditors, the states and central banks," he told Europe 1 radio.

But as the talks began, it emerged that Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager was pushing for the EU, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Central Bank (ECB) to take "permanent" control of Greece's revenues and public expenditure, AFP news agency reports.

Elections ahead

Mr Venizelos said he now expected the "long period of uncertainty" to end.

"The Greek people send to Europe the message that they have made, and will make, the necessary sacrifices for our country to regain its position of equality within the European family," he said in a finance ministry statement issued in Brussels on Monday.


After five straight years of recession, Greece now has a debt greater than 160% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Eurozone leaders and the IMF said in October that Greek debt should be reduced to the more sustainable level of 120% of GDP by 2020.

Successive rounds of austerity measures, demanded by the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank - Greece's international creditors - have failed to restore growth and have provoked clashes between protesters and police.

The Greek government fell last year after ex-Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum on the eurozone rescue package.

He was replaced by Mr Papademos, an unelected technocrat who is expected to lead Greece until parliamentary elections in April.

Measures passed by parliament last week set out 3.3bn euros' worth of cuts to salaries and pensions, and health and defence spending.



Several thousand people protested in Athens on Sunday against further cuts agreed to by Mr Papademos' cabinet on Saturday - but the numbers were far reduced from the tens of thousands who protested last week.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde praised the work Greece had done so far to address the crisis, but said it was now up to the other parties to continue the work, and that the IMF was ready to work with them.

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the US was encouraging the IMF to support the bailout, but it is not clear how much the IMF will contribute.

Some eurozone finance ministers doubt Greece's commitment to its spending pledges and want strong mechanisms to ensure its debts are paid.

It is not yet clear how the eurozone intends to keep the pressure on Greece to ensure it fulfils its commitments, says the BBC's Europe editor, Gavin Hewitt.

And, he adds, there are doubts that even with the bailout Greece will be able to reduce its debt to a sustainable level.

Funds from elsewhere may need to be found. A first rescue fund of 110bn euros in 2010 was not enough to avert the crisis.

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whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
Donator
Jan 12, 2010
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#2
Measures passed by parliament last week set out 3.3bn euros' worth of cuts to salaries and pensions, and health and defence spending.
Maybe they should have done that before they needed the first bailout, or at the very least after it. I hope we don't give them a dime in this bailout, but we probably will.
 

English Gent

Registered User
Feb 15, 2005
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#3
Maybe they should have done that before they needed the first bailout, or at the very least after it. I hope we don't give them a dime in this bailout, but we probably will.
The US won't be paying a dime towards this bailout, as it's restricted to Eurozone countries (the UK isn't even in the Eurozone). The US is a member of the IMF, so will likely contribute to any funding that Greece gets from there, but that has nothing to do with this bailout. This bailout will actually do nothing but delay the inevitable for a few months: Greece will default, everyone will take a huge haircut and Greece will drop out of the Eurozone and, possibly, the EU itself.
 

BIV

I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
Apr 22, 2002
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#4
At these talks...will they speak Greek?




/oblig