Euro zone finance ministers and officials were meeting on Monday to discuss a second bailout package for Greece and the financial situation in Italy.
Following are highlights of their comments ahead of the talks:
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER ELENA SALGADO ON GERMAN POSITION ON PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN GREEK BAILOUT:
Its not that Germany is insisting on something different than what they have said for the beginning: that the private sector has to also play a role.
We have been very cautious from the beginning, because we understood that it could generate instability... We still have time to contain that instability in the markets and that is what we have to do as quickly as possible.
ON PROSPECTS FOR MONDAY'S TALKS:
There are no miracle cures, but what has to come out (from today's meeting) is the clear determination of all countries to do everything possible to generate stability in the euro zone.
ON ROLE OF RATINGS AGENCIES:
The problem with the ratings agencies is a conflict of interest and lack of competition in the first place. What we have to do is to decide what we want to do ... the next day, if we think a downgrade is unjustified.
BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS ON ROLE OF RATINGS AGENCIES:
I am more searching for a solution than for a rating. If it's possible to have a solution with a rollover coming from the private sector and then funding coming from the IMF and the European Union, it's enough for me. If it's with a negative assessment from the ratings agencies, that's not a real problem.
ON VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION IN GREEK BAILOUT:
We now have agreement around the table that it must be voluntary participation, it must not be new money, but should be the re-use of existing loans.
And everyone should participate and that means not just banks but pension funds and insurers. If we can clearly communicate that today we will be taking a step forward. Greece needs money by mid-September. We can go before our national parliaments at the start of September. I think today we should make an announcement at least on the role of the private sector.
We saw this three years ago with the banking sector -- the longer we take, the more we run the risk of default and we no longer control the situation.
ON PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN NEW GREEK PACKAGE:
We need to find a way to have some guidelines today on the private sector involvement and the solution for Greece. That's the real issue today, I'm sure.
Today, maybe it's possible to have some guidelines for the private sector involvement. I'm sure we'll agree about the voluntary basis, about the level playing field in the different member states and the different actors -- not only the banks, but also the insurance companies, the pension funds and if it's possible to organize that with a rollover it's a good thing. We need to give an answer today.
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER MARIA FEKTER
The crisis is not over yet. We are still stabilizing.
ON PRIVATE PARTICIPATION IN A NEW GREEK BAILOUT:
We are now talking in the Eurogroup about the proposals on the table as well as their impact on Greece from the point of view of whether it could be considered to be in default.
We are looking at those proposals in detail. It must be expressly voluntary. We cannot put any pressure on. There are many models on the table that one has to look at. We won't have any state intervention in the private sector -- that would have fatal consequences.
FINNISH FINANCE MINISTER JUTTA URPILAINEN
ON COLLATERAL FOR ANY GREEK BAILOUT:
The question about the guarantees is non-negotiable.
DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER JAN KEES DE JAGER ON PROBLEMS IN GREECE, OTHER COUNTRIES:
Today we are discussing Greece, the problems in Greece. Obviously all other countries do not have the same level of problems as Greece and it's important for all euro zone countries to perform budget austerity programs, economic reforms and a lot of the countries have already adopted such programs and that's the way forward.
ON PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN GREEK BAILOUT:
That's an ongoing debate. As I said last week, substantial private sector involvement is for the Netherlands and Germany a precondition. We did not say that it has to be mandatory to correct the views that were ventilated last week. We still pursue a voluntary basis, but some ratings agencies will see any substantial participation maybe as not completely voluntary.
We do pursue a voluntary basis but it has to be substantial private sector involvement. That's our commitment and also our parliament that demands it.
ASKED IF HE IS CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE CONTAGION?
No, no, no. First budget and deficit in the countries themselves are very important that they are reformed and Italy is doing that.
GREEK FINANCE MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS
I'm ready to participate in a substantial and constructive discussion on private sector involvement because we need a today a very strong and clear message for stability, not only in Greece but in the euro zone and beyond the euro zone.
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE ASKED IF ITALY COULD BE THE NEXT PROBLEM CASE FOR THE EU:
I don't think so at all.
Italy is in the middle of a budget decision that is not easy, but the draft presented by the Italian finance minister is very convincing.
I have no doubt that Italy will take the right decisions. That's all. It's the usual excitement before such meetings, it shouldn't be taken too seriously, Italy is on the right path.
ON FURTHER ASSISTANCE FOR GREECE:
We will today sign the agreement for the medium-term stability mechanism. We will adjust the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) to the volume that we see fit for the medium term.
We have put in the place what was necessary for Greece and now we will swiftly, but without undue haste, negotiate a new program for Greece. We're on the right track.
ON PERFORMANCE OF RATINGS AGENCIES:
We can't decide on ratings agencies on our own. We will check all possibilities, whether there has been abusive behavior.
Last week there was a statement from one agency which was received with complete incomprehension, with regards to Portugal, even though Portugal is on its way to enact what has been agreed on.
Apart from that we have to check the possibilities of how we can break the oligopoly of the ratings agencies.
(Reporting by John O'Donnell, Leigh Thomas, Robert-Jan Bartunek, Daniel Flynn and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, Ritsuko Ando in Helsinki)