Highlights: Comments from euro zone finance ministers
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - France insisted on Monday that euro zone finance officials should discuss the rising strength of the euro, but several ministers played down the issue and the G7 was expected to call for "market-determined" exchange rates.
Following are comments following a meeting of euro zone finance ministers:
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
"We reassured each other that we'd stick to the line on exchange rate questions that we've always had internationally, that we agreed at G20 and G7 levels, that exchange rates should not be manipulated, that too high flexibility is of course dangerous ... We will urge at the G20 meeting in Moscow that (that is agreed also) in the G20 framework."
"The exchange rate problems don't just exist in and with the euro but there are concerns with other big currencies."
EUROGROUP CHAIR JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM
"It was part of our discussion."
"The main conclusion was it should be discussed in the G20 this weekend."
"Tonight where Cyprus is concerned we zoomed in on the issue of anti-money laundering and didn't go into any possible, or not possible, elements of a program so I can't go into these elements with you."
(On Cyprus anti-money laundering measures)
"We agreed that an independent assessment conducted by a private sector firm is required and we requested the Troika and Cyprus to agree on the terms of reference for such an assessment within a week."
DIJSSELBLOEM (on ESM direct recapitalization)
"On the capacity issue, in order to preserve the ESM capacity for other instruments and the ESM high credit rating, we agreed to explore the possibility of defining limits for the various ESM instruments. We agreed that the ESM should strive to maximize efficiency and provide the highest capacity for direct recapitalization without putting additional strain on national budgets."
"In particular, we agreed to explore options where private capital could be attracted alongside the ESM capital injections in order to maximize the direct recap capacity."
"We will continue to discuss other important issues related to the direct recap instrument at our next meetings and aim to finalize the operational framework by June."
DIJSSELBLOEM (on Ireland)
"We will discuss at our next meeting in March how best to support Ireland as well as Portugal in successfully exiting its program and fully returning to market financing."
Earlier comments by ministers arriving at the meeting.
CYPRUS FINANCE MINISTER VASSOS SHIARLY
"I would say that the bail-in of depositors is a grossly exaggerated possibility, unlikely to happen, we will not accept it under any circumstances and I don't think it creates any way forward."
"At the last meeting we have agreed there would be an MOU (memorandum of understanding) in March after the elections. We have managed to maintain a stable position in Cyprus, we have not requested any financial assistance from anybody, we are maintaining the fiscal as well as the borrowing needs of the country without any external assistance, we will continue to do so and I believe with the Eurogroup we will be able to find a solution and a program by the end of March."
LUXEMBOURG FINANCE MINISTER LUC FRIEDEN
(On the euro)
"I find the question extremely interesting since a year ago, everyone was asking, at least people in Brussels, if the euro was going to survive. I note that today that certain people find the euro too strong. So it is the best sign that the euro exists, that the euro will survive, that the euro is a stable currency ... I am very glad that we have stabilized the euro ... (The euro's exchange rate) "doesn't worry me excessively."
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER MARIA FEKTER
(On the strength of the euro)
"This is mainly decided by the market ... I find an artificial weakening unnecessary. We are in a good way now. In my view the excitement about the euro is unjustified right now."
(Reporting by Adrian Croft, Claire Davenport; Jan Strupczewski, Barbara Lewis)