The Eurogroup of euro zone finance ministers and officials met on Monday to discuss the options for solving Greece's debt crisis.
Following are highlights of ministers' and officials' comments after the talks:
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER FRANCOIS BAROIN ON A VOLUNTARY ROLLOVER FOR GREEK DEBT:
It is included, it is one option amongst others, there being several options that are more important and broader.
ON INCREASED FLEXIBILITY FOR THE EUROPEAN FINANCIAL STABILITY FACILITY (EFSF) RESCUE FUND:
Going toward a wider flexibility of the EFSF goes beyond a simple rollover in which the French and the Germans and others were in agreement to include the private sector.
We stress...the absolute determination without reserve of all members to guarantee the stability of the euro. This is a message addressed to investors, and it is a strong message.
ON EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK'S OPPOSITION TO ANY MEASURES THAT WOULD TRIGGER A CREDIT EVENT OR A SELECTIVE DEFAULT:
It is one element in the discussions and we accepted readily the inclusion of the ECB's position in the communique.
EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER ASKED ABOUT SPECIFICS OF DEALING WITH GREEK CRISIS:
The reason why we are not more specific is that it is late. You cannot say that there is ... nothing new in this statement, because we are referring to the enhancement in the flexibility and scope -- and within a short time -- of the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility).
ON THE FLEXIBILITY OF THE EFSF:
It is the first time that we are saying that we would like to enhance the flexibility and the scope of the EFSF. It is the first time that the Eurogroup as a whole is saying that lengthening of the maturities and the lowering of the interest rate will be part of the next coming decisions.
We are not saying we are giving an exam to these questions but we are saying we stand ready to adopt further measures, but the detailed proposal for adopting these measures will have to be worked out by the Eurogroup working group.
And we are not saying this will be done at some date in the future, we are saying shortly. Shortly means shortly, and shortly means as soon as possible.
ON THE SUSTAINABILITY OF GREEK DEBT:
We stress the need to make Greek debt more sustainable. And we also indicate the measures and instruments that we might use for this purpose. If the weight of Greek public debt is corrected downwards, if the interest rates are lowered and if the maturities are lengthened, then you might well get the impression that this will be of great help to Greece.
ON CONTAGION AND THE SITUATION IN ITALY:
We are fully aware that Italy and other countries are in the focus of part of the financial markets and we do believe that this general statement, because this statement is not only limited to Greece, is offering adequate responses to the questions financial markets may have.
We didn't look in specific terms at what you have called the 'Italian crisis'. We've looked at things in an overall way, presenting the instruments we have. We think that those instruments are able to stop things spreading within the euro zone.
We're going to perfect the different instruments that we have within a very brief period of time. This is to stop things from spreading. This is why we stress that we want to do everything possible to maintain stability, financial stability, within the euro zone, to use instruments and measures that will be appropriate in that context.
ON PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN GREEK BAILOUT:
There will be a private sector involvement. This is a decision that has been taken by the European Council. Talks will go on in the next coming days.
This debate with the private sector ... will be pursued and will be brought to an end shortly. That means as soon as possible.
We want to confirm as solemnly as possible that everything will be done to guarantee the financial stability of the euro zone and within the euro zone.
We are envisaging increasing the scope of the EFSF, we are talking about extending the maturities for the first time, and for the first time we are talking about lowering the interest rates. We indicate that we are continuing the debate, our talks, with the private sector, which clearly means there will be involvement of the private sector.
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO ON PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN GREEK BAILOUT PACKAGE:
We have insisted that the private sector must participate on a voluntary basis and this must be focused on guaranteeing the sustainability of Greece's debt.
We agreed we will keep discussing a new program. We will reach agreement certainly within a short time, but officially, as it needs ratification by some parliaments, it will not be formally adopted until the month of September.
ON CHANGES TO THE EUROPEAN FINANCIAL STABILITY FACILITY (EFSF):
We are talking about reducing the interest rate for countries which have a program... as well as extending the period for the loans. We are studying ways of making the functioning of the EFSF more flexible and improving it.
EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN ON BOND-BUYING BY EFSF:
There are a variety of ways of enhancing the flexibility of the EFSF. This is one of those. I would not exclude any option. We are exploring these possibilities.
BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS ON EURO ZONE STABILITY:
There was a reaffirmation of the absolute will of the Eurogroup to safeguard stability in the euro zone and to take the necessary measures.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, John O'Donnell, Daniel Flynn, Luke Baker, David Brunnstrom and Julien Toyer, editing by Rex Merrifield)