ECB says Trichet travel change due to logistics

 @ibtimes on February 09 2010 6:40 AM

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet is changing his plans to leave Australia and return to Europe purely because of logistics, an ECB spokesman said on Tuesday.

The problem was that at the last minute his departure time from Australia was changed because there was some concern that he would not catch a connecting flight and therefore miss the EU summit, spokesman Wiktor Krzyzanowski told Reuters.

Earlier on Tuesday, officials at the Reserve Bank of Australia and the ECB said Trichet was cutting short a working visit to Australia so that he could attend a special European Union summit on the economy in Brussels this Thursday.

According to the RBA and the ECB's own website, Trichet had been scheduled to stay in Australia until Wednesday.

The change in his travel plans prompted speculation in financial markets that Trichet might be flying home early to discuss the possibility of some form of EU action to help Greece resolve its severe debt problems.

However, Krzyzanowski said Trichet had already received and accepted in mid-January an invitation to attend this week's EU summit.

The Australian event was planned 1-1/2 years ago. Mr. Trichet received the invitation from (EU) President van Rompuy immediately when Mr. van Rompuy announced that he was calling the summit, on January 16 or 17, and Mr. Trichet said he would of course attend.

Krzyzanowski added: The whole absurd situation came from the fact that someone in Australia said that Mr. Trichet was cutting short his stay. It became a big story, while Mr. Trichet only chose an earlier flight because he was afraid he would miss a connection.

Krzyzanowski did not make any comment on what Trichet's position on Greece might be at the EU summit.

At a meeting of Group of Seven officials in Canada on Saturday, Trichet said in a statement that euro area members of the G7 had given an update to the group on Greece's efforts to ensure fiscal sustainability, and would closely monitor the implementation of Greece's efforts to cut its budget deficit.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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