Highlights: Comments after euro zone finance ministers meet

By @ibtimes on

Euro zone finance ministers approved a 78 billion euro ($110 billion) bailout for Portugal but as a condition of the deal insisted that Lisbon ask private bondholders to maintain their exposure to its debt.

Following are some comments made by EU officials and finance ministers after their Monday talks.

EUROGROUP CHAIRMAN JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER

ON IMF's DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN:

Mr Dominique Strauss-Kahn has not stepped down and I'm not suggesting that he should do so. I will refuse to give an answer to these questions. It's indecent that some governments already this morning started on this debate. This is a debate that has no place.

ON OUTSIDE AGENCY TO RUN GREEK PRIVATISATION:

This was an issue we were already discussing... In the hypothesis that additional measures should be needed and in the framework of the need for giving by far more importance to the privatization program, this is an option which will be taken under reason, which is shared by some of our colleagues but which the finance minister without any doubt told you is not shared by everyone.

ON REPROFILING OF GREEK DEBT RATHER THAN RESTRUCTURING:

I have to repeat that a large restructuring is no option. Nobody was mentioning tonight the need of having a large restructuring.

I wouldn't exclude in a definite way a kind of reprofiling, but this is not an isolated answer...

We have to see if any further additional measures are required... and then, only if all these conditions are met, can we discuss the issue of reprofiling. It's not reprofiling or nothing, it's measures and measures and measures and then maybe reprofiling.

ON GREEK FISCAL TARGETS:

Urgent measures are needed in Greece in order to meet the fiscal targets which are those we agreed upon when we launched the Greek assistance program.

We have the clear agreement of the Greek government to take additional measures in order to reach the fiscal targets for 2011, to increase the volume of the privatization effort and everyone knows that Greece has to expend further efforts and the Greek government would be the first one to acknowledge....

Things are feasible. I would never say that things are easy, but they are feasible if they are taken on board by the Greek authorities. What is of paramount importance to us is to have a cross- party agreement in Greece, as we had one in Portugal....

ON THE SITUATION OF IMF'S DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN:

We didn't discuss in the meeting the situation of Mr Strauss-Kahn, but I have to say that I am very sad and upset. He is a friend of mine... Mr Strauss-Kahn is in the hands of American justice, it's not up to us to comment on this, but it makes me deeply, deeply sad.

ON MARIO DRAGHI FOR ECB PRESIDENT:

We unanimously designated Mr Mario Draghi, governor of the Italian central bank, as the successor to the outgoing European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet.

The decision of the Eurogroup will be forwarded to the Hungarian presidency so that tomorrow the Ecofin council will be able to adopt this proposal, which will immediately be forwarded to the European Parliament ... so that the European Council in June will be able to take a definitive decision on this issue, which will be made legally effective in July by the Eurogroup and the Ecofin Council.

ON EUROPEAN STABILITY MECHANISM (ESM):

I am absolutely certain that the treaty on the ESM will be signed as the framework agreement on the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility), by the end of June, so as to enable us to swiftly launch the national ratification procedures so that the ESM can be ready and operational when it is to take over from the EFSF, halfway through 2013.

ON GREECE:

The situation is extremely difficult in Greece and in respect of Greece. We were satisfied, happy to see that the Greek government has agreed to make progress in quite a short period of time on additional measures, which will enable it to comply with the budgetary limits for 2011 on which we agreed when we launched the Greek program.

The privatization program is extremely important.

On the basis of the reports ... by the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF, we will definitively conclude the Greek chapter at our meeting in June.

EUROPEAN FINANCIAL STABILITY FACILITY HEAD KLAUS REGLING

ON FUNDING FOR PORTUGAL:

The EFSF will probably go to the markets this year three times. the details are not yet decided, we are discussing them with the Portuguese authorities...

And of course it also depends on the market conditions, but probably three issues, two possibly before the summer break. I am confident we will be able to raise the funds needed.

EUROPEAN MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN

ON PORTUGAL'S INTEREST RATE:

As regards interest rates concerning Portugal -- we have based the decision on previously agreed principles and this will lead to a level of interest rate that is somewhere around 5.5 percent and clearly below 6.0 percent.

ON GREECE

The mission of the EU/IMF troika will continue the review of the program as there are still some gaps to fill, especially concerning fiscal consolidation and the privatization program. Let me emphasize that ... Greece must still step up the implementation of its fiscal and structural reforms and substantiate as well as start implementing the ambitious privatization program which is worth about 50 billion euros and do so without any further delay. This is very important part of reducing the debt burden of Greece as the 50 billion euros is equivalent to about 20 percent of the GDP of Greece.

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