Highlights: Euro zone finance ministers' comments
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers and officials meet on Thursday to discuss a bailout for Spanish banks and the way ahead for Greece's emergency lending program.
Following are comments from ministers and officials ahead of the regular talks:
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER PIERRE MOSCOVICI:
"I will start by saying that I'm delighted by the fact that the Greek people have opted for a pro-euro government. That's the right way to go.
"We know that it means that Greece will have to respect its commitments. But it also means that Europe has to be sensitive to the feelings of the Greek people, and take measures in order to help the country achieve growth. Efforts must be made, but at the same time we have to create conditions for hope. That's what the euro must be about."
ASKED IF SPAIN WILL MAKE A FORMAL REQUEST AT THE MEETING FOR SUPPORT FOR ITS BANKS:
"That's for Spain to determine itself. Now they have some decisions to take - and they will be taken. The plan we decided on some 15 days ago is robust and sufficient according to all the analysis we have.
"The mechanisms exist, and I am confident in Spain's ability to make the necessary reforms, and I am confident in the European Union's capacity to respond to the difficulties in the banking sector.
"More broadly, what we need to do in the days ahead is to provide a joint, stable and lasting framework for the euro zone."
ON SITUATION IN FRANCE:
"I am very confident in my country. I will have the opportunity (at the Euro group) to present our public finances strategy and that our commitments will be met... We will be at 4.5 percent (deficit) in 2012 and we will work on our strategy for 2013 to reach 3 percent (deficit). France has all the resources to both to carry out growth policies and to respect our public finance commitments."
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
ASKED ABOUT POSSIBILITY OF EFSF BAILOUT FUND BUYING BONDS ON SECONDARY MARKET:
"The legal situation for the European rescue mechanism, the EFSF - the ESM isn't in force yet - is set out in the treaty.
"Under certain circumstances there is a possibility to operate on the secondary market. That's known, that's sorted and all this speculation can be surprising as it's all set out clearly in the treaties: following a country's request and the agreement of an adjustment program.
"We're flexible on the specific financing instruments, such as with the banking recapitalization in Spain. There are different types of instruments that we can use efficiently, such as with leveraging and such, but we don't need continuously new considerations in public as if we hadn't made precise agreements already."
ASKED ABOUT HOW TO END MARKET TURMOIL:
"Speculate less, but work precisely, implement what has been decided instead of creating expectations that are completely unrealistic, but on the other hand implement what has been agreed.
"That's also what I told my colleagues in the G20 framework in Los Cabos again: Germany, for instance, has largely fulfilled its commitments according to IMF reports, the OECD and the European Commission.
"If everyone fulfils their commitments, the problems will soon be solved. And if there is less speculation, including in the media, the financial markets won't constantly be insecure, because how are investors meant to differentiate if you as media keep publishing groundless rumors."
ON GERMAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SAYING IT NEEDED TIME TO DECIDE ON LEGALITY OF ESM PERMANENT BAILOUT FUND:
"I don't believe it is smart if the organs of the constitution communicate with each other in public and I believe it's even less smart if the government makes comments on this."
(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt, Charlie Dunmore and Robin Emmott, via Brussels newsroom)
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