Highlights: Euro zone finance ministers’ meeting on Greece

BRUSSELS (BestGrowthStock) – The following are comments by euro zone finance ministers and other officials meeting on Sunday to decide a figure for emergency loans to Greece until 2012.

ECB PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE TRICHET

“We have considered, and this has been made public already, we were welcoming the financial adjustment programme approved today by the Greek government.”

“The ambitious fiscal adjustment and the comprehensive structural reforms under the programme are, in our view, appropriate to achieve the programme’s objective of stabilizing the fiscal and economic situation over time and addressing the fiscal and structural challenges of the Greek economy.”

“We consider that it will help restore confidence and safeguard financial stability in the euro area. The Governing Council of the ECB also considers essential that the Greek public authorities stand ready to take … any further measures that may become appropriate to achieve the objectives of the programme.”

EUROGROUP CHAIRMAN JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER

“The president of the European Council has decided to convene a Eurogroup European Council for Friday, 7th May. This European Council will not, of course, go back on the decision we have taken but it will .. evaluate the situation which will arise by the end of the week. The European Council will draw initial conclusions from the Greek crisis. It will assess the impact on euro area governance.”

On support plan for Greece:

“We decided to activate the support plan for Greece.”

Reading from statement:

“Euro area ministers agreed today to activate … support to Greece via bilateral loans centrally pooled by the European Commission under the conditions set out in the statement of 11 February.”

“The Eurogroup is confident that the ambitious fiscal adjustment and comprehensive structural reforms under the Greek authorities’ programme are appropriate to stabilize the fiscal and economic situation and address the fiscal and structural challenges.”

“It will thereby help restore confidence and safeguard financial stability in the euro area.”

“The financial package made available 110 billion euros ($146.5 billion) to help Greece meet its financial needs. Euro member states are willing to contribute 80 billion.”

“The first disbursement will be made available before … May 19.”

“Euro area financial support will be provided under strong policy conditionality on the basis of the fiscal programme which has been negotiated with the Greek authorities.”

FRENCH ECONOMY MINISTER CHRISTINE LAGARDE

“Greece and Portugal and Spain and Italy and whoever are different cases. Greece is very peculiar, in the sense that the numbers, the statistics that were given over the years were wrong (…) And that has created, as Mr (Greek Prime Minister George) Papandreou himself has said, a deficit of confidence. So we need to cure this deficit of confidence and that’s clearly what we are determined to do at this point in time.”

“Greece must produce and we must support, and we need to check every now and then that what Greece has undertaken to do is going to be delivered.”

“I think we are conducting an exercise in solidarity and clearly everyone has an interest in Greece being stable, back on its feet and regaining the confidence of the markets.”

“Everyone must see what he can do and I expect the financial sector also to look at what it can do.”

“There must be a strong signal and a credible programme … several people have talked about a sum of between 100 billion and 120 billion euros” ($133 billion to $160 billion).

BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS “I think we are moving forward. The plan being announced is for between 100 and 120 billion euros but over three years. What we have to check today is that Greece is taking all the measures necessary to return to balance.”

“We must avoid contagion spreading rapidly. If we do nothing in Greece’s case, that is the risk … it is the common currency that is at stake.”

“I think we waited to check what the figures were in Greece and that is regrettable. These figures don’t stop making things worse. The statistics are not always very reliable.”

FINNISH FINANCE MINISTER JYRKI KATAINEN

Speaking to Finnish public broadcaster YLE: “Greece is a country that is like Lehman Brothers. If it fell, it would shake Europe’s economy tremendously … it is clear the euro zone economy would shrink.”

LUXEMBOURG FINANCE MINISTER LUC FRIEDEN

Asked whether the loans to Greece would amount to 120 billion euros over three years:

“We will listen to the Greek government but I think it is in that range that our assessment will be.”

EU MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

“As you know, last night an agreement was reached between the (European) Commission, the ECB, the IMF and the Greek government on a joint programme of fiscal consolidation and financial support for Greece and the Greek government has today announced a very comprehensive and ambitious economic programme which I indeed welcome.”

“I am confident the euro area member states will today endorse this (Greek austerity) programme and I am recommending to the Eurogroup today to activate the mechanism.”

“The sum will be decided today and I am sure that the Eurogroup finance ministers will endorse the proposals of the Commission, the ECB and the IMF in that regard.”

SPAIN ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO

“The tasks we face today are to look at the reports from the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission and to have a debate among ministers. I hope that some clear signals will come up from this in order to generate stability.”

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Highlights: Euro zone finance ministers’ meeting on Greece