Euro finmins to agree on Greek aid, no sums -source

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS, March 13 (BestGrowthStock) – Euro zone finance ministers
are likely to agree on Monday on the principles and parameters
of financial help to Greece, if it is required, but leave out
any sums until Athens asks for them, an EU source said.

“I think we should be able to agree on principles of a euro
area facility for coordinated assistance. The European
Commission and the Eurogroup task force would have the mandate
to finalise the work,” the senior EU source, with knowledge of
the preparations, told Reuters.

“It would be the principles and parameters of a facility or
mechanism, which then could be activated if needed and
requested.”

British newspaper the Guardian reported its sources as
saying the aid to be made available by the bailout could reach
25 billion euros. Greece’s borrowing needs for the whole of 2010
total 53.2 billion euros.

But the source said no numbers were likely at this stage.

“There is no agreed figure. You would have a framework
mechanism and you would have blank spaces for the numbers
because there has been no request (from Greece) yet,” the source
said.

Finance ministers from the 16 countries using the euro, the
Eurogroup, meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the Greek debt
crisis and the country’s progress in introducing austerity
measures necessary to regain the confidence of markets.

Greece has announced steps to reduce its budget deficit this
year to 8.7 percent of GDP from 12.7 percent in 2009, triggering
street protests and strikes but also reducing market concern
over whether the country would be able to service its debt.

The source said that among the instruments considered to
help Greece were both bilateral loans and loan guarantees.

“The preparations have been done under the Eurogroup by
member states and the Commission. The Commission has done much
of the technical work,” the source said.

“The aim of the exercise so far has been to do the technical
preparations, so that the political decision could be possible
on Monday. Germany holds the key at the moment.”

Polls show that public opinion in Europe’s biggest economy
Germany is strongly opposed to their country bailing out Greece,
which has for years provided unreliable statistics about the
true size of its deficit and debt, breaking EU budget rules.

In a move that is likely to alleviate German concerns about
spending money on Greece, the Commission has said it would soon
make a proposal for stronger economic cooperation between euro
zone countries and tighter surveillance of their performance.

Stock Market Today

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, editing by Patrick Graham
and Adrian Wright)

Euro finmins to agree on Greek aid, no sums -source