HIGHLIGHTS-EU finance ministers’ meeting on crisis mechanism

BRUSSELS, May 9 (BestGrowthStock) – The following are comments by
European Union finance ministers and other officials on Sunday
ahead of their meeting to agree on a mechanism aimed at
preventing Greece’s debt turmoil spreading to other countries.

BELGIUM FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS

“I hope that in a period of serious crisis — because the
crisis is serious — we can make progress.
“There are many different figures on the table and there are
different mechanisms. The orientation (direction) is solidarity.
To show that all countries in the eurozone are truly together to
support their currency.

“If we can do that I think we can, in parallel, move towards
a much more economic and social governance of the eurozone, and
we know that in this period of crisis that these developments
are possible.
“We need to go to a solidarity mechanism from the eurozone,
and we need to organise a real economic and social government
from the euro zone also.”

LUXEMBOURG FINANCE MINISTER LUC FRIEDEN

“We first need clear political will to stabilise the euro.
The euro is something which is a … political and economic
project, and therefore I hope that all ministers will share our
view that there is no alternative to a strong euro.”

“We are a community where countries have to stick together,
so if some countries are in difficulties others should help,
because by doing that we help ourselves.”

Asked what kind of role should the ECB play:

“The ECB is an independent institution of the European Union
so the ECB should certainly play a role, but according to its
rules, and therefore political leaders should not influence the
decisions of the ECB.”

AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER JOSEF PROELL

“Clear announcements, clear support mechanisms and clear
perspectives are required.”

“It is not for us as finance ministers to give advice to the
ECB. The ECB is independent.”

“I see a ‘magical’ triangle that can provide a solution: the
EU finance ministers, the ECB and the affected countries.”

“Speculation can only work against countries that have run
careless financial and economic policy for years or decades.”

“This is a serious test for the euro and an incredible test
of European politics. It is certainly the most critical and
strained situation in years and decades, but it can be solved.
We have the capacity.”

“We will do everything to shore up confidence in the euro so
that we give a clear signal to the international finance
markets.”

FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER CHRISTINE LAGARDE

“We are there to work, to decide on a mechanism that allows
us to ensure the stability of the euro, in the euro zone but
also in the financial markets. It’s a meeting that’s important
for Europe and for other (countries).”

“We are going to work as a follow-up to the summit that took
place on Friday with heads of state and prime ministers.”

“Clearly we have to do important work and we have to take
decisions that will restore the stability for the euro, in the
euro zone, and we have to work on a mechanism that will be
comprehensive and efficient to restore stability.”

SWEDISH FINANCE MINISTER ANDERS BORG

“There is a need for stronger measures, where we stand
together to strengthen the stability of the financial markets
here in Europe. We need to make progress today…

“We now see herd behaviours, that are really pack
behaviours, wolfpack behaviours, and if we will not stop these
packs, even if it is self-inflicted weakness, they will tear the
weaker countries apart. So it’s very, very important that we now
make progress, both when it comes to consolidation not only long
term but short term consolidation, but also when it comes to a
common facility to deal with the urgent problems.”

Would you contribute to a bailout of euro zone countries?

“I would not rule out anything, I would be willing to
consider any option that would strengthen the common resources,
so I would not rule that out.

“I know that in the core, this is a euro group problem, it
is the countries in the euro group that have created the
problems and it’s quite clear that our tax payers are not
willing to support Greeks that go into pensions in their 40s or
50s. that is out of the question. But we also need resources to
stop the market turmoil. If this goes on for more than a couple
of days it will be very, very problematic for the recovery.”

DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER JAN KEES DE JAGER

Asked how he was hoping to restablish faith in the euro:

“We will have quite a debate of course this evening and this
afternoon. We are determined to settle a solution. But there is
some discusion about what the solution will be, of course.”

“But we will have a statement later on in the day and it
will be a determined statement.”

What about need for any new legal basis?

“We will see about that … under the current presentation
we will also work under the present legal basis. But we will of
course in the future need a lot of adapations, a lot of
alterations, and of course also to tackle with the fundamental
problems, the budgetary problems with some countries as well as
the working of the economies in some of the countries.”

What about sums?

“There has been diocussion about that but I am not going to
contemplate that at the moment.”

What solutions are you going to discuss?

“There are several alternatives at the moment. Of course we
see some liquidity problems in the markets, today also with
government bonds. We will address that issue.”

BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER ALISTAIR DARLING

Speaking to BBC in Brussels:

“I think it is important that we do everything we can to
stabilise the markets, to show that we are coming through one of
the difficult periods, and that we are prepared to do what is
necessary to ensure that we have that stability.”

“Now the meeting today has been called because it’s
necessary to make sure that in one or two countries’ cases we
are doing the right things. Support is being provided from the
appropriate quarter in order to make sure that we stabilise the
situation, that we can continue with the recovery.”

Asked how far was Britain prepared to go to offer support:

“Well, firstly, the responsibility for supporting the euro
and the Eurogroup countries lies with the members. Now we are
not one of them, but it is clearly in our interest that
everything is done in Europe to try and stabilise the
situation.”

“But I am very, very clear that if there is a proposal to
create a stability fund for the euro, that has got to be a
matter for the Eurogroup countries, as it was in the case of
Greece.”

“It’s in all our interests … to make sure that whatever is
agreed is in place quickly because it’s in all of our interests
that those countries that may have difficulties have those
difficulties resolved as quickly as possible.”

“What we will not do and what we can’t do is provide support
for the euro, that’s got to be for those countries that use the
euro, that are members of the Eurogroup.”

“The responsibility for supporting the euro must be for the
Eurogroup members. When they went into the euro they knew
exactly what the score was.”

“We need to show again today that by acting together we can
stabilise the situation, we do not want to jeopardise the
recovery that is slowly taking place. And we will play our part
in that.”

“But when it comes to supporting the euro, obviously that is
for the euro zone countries.”

FINNISH FINANCE MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN

“All the governments in the European Union, and especially
within the euro zone, need to show a very strong commitment to
consolidate the budgets.”

“Extreme turmoil in the markets has not been good for the
euro zone, so now we have to do the measures that normalise the
markets.”

SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO

Asked what message the ministers would send to the markets:

“The same messages that were sent by the heads of state and
government when they met last Friday. So this is that we are
going to defend the euro, that we think that we have to give
more stability to our guarantee.”

FINLAND’S KATAINEN

Speaking at a news conference in Helsinki:

“The situation in the financial markets has gone in a very
bad direction, even though the Greek situation was brought under
control.”

“Now we have to do everything we can to bring stability in
time.”

“The alternative is still the same as when we talked about
Greece: the threat of a serious bank crisis.”

Should a banking crisis occur: “We know what would happen.
The bank crisis would not be one of a few countries, rather it
would lead to a full recession in Europe.”

“Today and tonight we will seek a decision on how we can
stabilise the European economy and banking market and avoid the
worst. There are possibilities to do this, but it will be very
tough to find a solution. Today we will do everything possible.”

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HIGHLIGHTS-EU finance ministers’ meeting on crisis mechanism