Tuesday, January 24, 2012

EU Ministers Resume Crisis Talks

Wall Street Journal
January 24, 2012

European Union finance ministers Tuesday piled pressure on Greece and its private-sector creditors to do more to ensure that a proposed deal to restructure Greece's private-sector debt will be enough to put the country back on a firm fiscal footing.

The International Monetary Fund and the euro zone's four triple-A-rated countries-—Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg—are pushing for a low average interest rate on new bonds to be issued as part of the restructuring, in order to ensure the government can pay its debts in the future.

But as they were heading to a meeting Tuesday, EU finance ministers also urged Greece to implement tough austerity and structural reforms and provide more written assurances to its partners that it would commit to its pledges before further aid can be released.

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter said she's "not pleased" with progress so far. "We're sending a very direct message to Greece that the community expects more, also in terms of structural reform," she told reporters. "We're not pleased and only when there's a written message on the table in front of us, can further assistance be discussed."

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