Published November 12, 2012
BRUSSELS – Euro zone finance ministers and officials meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the situation in Greece, but are not expected to authorize more money for Athens because there is still no agreement on how to make its debts sustainable.
The Eurogroup meeting is, however, expected to give Greece two more years to meet its goals in talks about unfreezing lending.
Following are comments ahead of the talks:
IRISH FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL NOONAN
ON SITUATION IN GREECE:
"Greece has made steady progress this week - two very important pieces of legislation have gone through. A lot of the earlier legislation was the prior conditions necessary for a renewal of their bailout and yesterday they passed... a budget with a lot of serious measures in it, so they seem to be fulfilling all of the conditions that they are being asked to fulfill."
ON GREECE'S FUNDING REQUIREMENT IN EU/IMF TROIKA REPORT:
"I think that figure has been in circulation for some time - that if the programme was extended by two years, that there would be a funding gap of 31-32 billion (euros), so again we'll have to see later what proposals are being put forward by the troika in respect of the funding gap."
ASKED ABOUT DIFFERENCES AMONG THE TROIKA:
"There are always differences of opinion among the troika. But I haven't heard of any difference of opinion on this occasion. But of course they operate by different criteria, and as they apply their criteria it doesn't mean that there's any contention between them, it's simply that the Greek programme will have to fulfill not only the criteria of the (European) Commission and the ECB (European Central Bank), but will have to fulfill the conditions of the IMF as well, and as I said the criteria are different."
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE
"Greece has done its work and shown some real resolve, so it's now for the creditors to do the same and certainly the IMF, as always, will play its part.
"We are in for not a quick fix, but a real fix. Not a quick fix, but a real fix."
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
ON DECISIONS ABOUT GREECE:
"First we'll have to see what Greece has delivered. Seriously, thoroughness is a must and before we decide, Germany's Bundestag has to be involved, just like in other countries.
"But we are within the timeframe, aware of our responsibility but we are sticking to the law."
"I'd like to see if Greece has fulfilled all its obligations and then I'd like to hear the (EU/IMF) troika report because it depends on the Greek government having found a solution with the troika, and I haven't read anything on that on the wires."
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER LUIS DE GUINDOS
ON SITUATION IN SPAIN:
"The future of the euro is being played out in Spain."
ON SPANISH ECONOMY:
"We are conscious that international forecasts for Spain are lower than our own forecasts. But those forecasts are not written in stone. We are working in our economic programme to meet our forecasts that we consider to be realistic."
ON DEFICIT STRATEGY:
"We have to take into account that Europe is in recession and that in these circumstances, we must look not just at nominal targets, but at structural ones.
"We see positive signs that indicate that our efforts to correct imbalances can in the medium-term start to produce results.
"The current account surplus forecast for 2013 could even be met this year."
"We have to reduce the fiscal deficit at a sensible pace. In the medium term we need sound public finances, but it has to be a sensible pace that doesn't create future problems and everyone in the Eurogroup is on the same page in that regard."
ON FINANCIAL REFORM:
"We need to take two steps - the capital injection, and we expect Commission approval in the next few weeks, and the other is the bad bank... The combination of the capital injection and the bad bank should leave the process perfectly clear and create a much-healed, stronger financial sector."
FINNISH FINANCE MINISTER JUTTA URPILAINEN
ON EU/IMF TROIKA REPORT ON GREEK DEBT SUSTAINABILITY:
"To get the sustainability report is very important and now we are waiting for more information.
"Unfortunately we haven't got all the information, not yet, so we are waiting for more information and we can see whether we are able to make decisions today or later this week.
"Probably we are not able to make decisions today, but we will see."
DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM
ON GREECE AND EUROPEAN COMMISSION/ECB/IMF TROIKA:
"I want to hear today where we are: the findings of the troika and the recommendations that they are making, and how we will continue from here."
ON TIMING OF DECISIONS ON GREECE:
"We won't be put under pressure, the Greeks too have waited for the last moment with many things. We too will take the time we need to see where we are."
ON ADDITIONAL TIME FOR GREECE TO MEET TARGETS:
"There are many possibilities, but I won't get ahead of myself."
ON NEXT FOUR YEARS AS DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER:
"Greece has a long way to go, so that will take a long time. It's clear that we will have to make large step towards guaranteeing the stability of the euro."
(Reporting by Robin Emmott, Luke Baker and Robert-Jan Bartunek; compiled by Rex Merrifield)