(Adds French and Belgian finance ministers)
BRUSSELS Nov 20 Euro zone finance ministers are
likely to approve the next tranche of loans to Greece at a
meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, but the money is unlikely to be
disbursed before December and a deal on debt reduction may need
Following are comments from ministers and officials ahead of
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER PIERRE MOSCOVICI
ON AGREEMENT ABOUT GREECE:
"I have the impression that a political agreement is within
reach and I think it is our duty as finance ministers to get it
"Everyone has to accept that they will have to go beyond
their red lines."
BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER STEVEN VANACKERE
ON AGREEMENT FOR GREECE:
"I am mildly optimistic about a deal this evening. I know
the IMF and the ECB still have questions to ask. Greece has made
a lot of effort and it is time that we think how to (make)
concrete our support.
"Greece must also stay on its reform path. Belgium for one
wants more guarantees that reforms will go ahead, such as on
fiscal management, before the next disbursement can be
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER LUIS DE GUINDOS
ASKED IF THERE WOULD BE A DEAL TODAY ON GREECE:
"Yes, I think so. It would be very positive for Greece and
for the euro zone's future. The issue is how to get Greece's
debt down to 120 percent in 2020 and we hope to reach a deal
that satisfies everyone."
EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN
ASKED ABOUT DIFFERENCES WITH THE IMF:
"We have been working in a very good spirit and in a very
constructive manner with the IMF in order to find an agreement
as regards how to reduce the debt burden of Greece and restore
the debt sustainability of Greece and I trust that we will have
results tonight on the basis of the (EU/IMF) troika's proposal."
ON GREEK DEBT SUSTAINABILITY:
"The Eurogroup this evening will take the necessary
decisions to ensure the debt sustainability of Greece.
"And it's essential that we will be able to decide on a set
of credible measures on reducing the debt burden of Greece
"Furthermore, we should be ready in the coming years to take
further decisions if needed, in order to ensure that there is
the sufficient debt sustainability of Greece."
"It's essential now that we take a decision on a set of
credible measures on debt sustainability and at the same time,
we need to be ready to take further decisions in the light of
future developments and of course, conditional and dependent on
the full implementation of the reforms and the programme by
Greece over the coming years."
"We need to find ways and means to ensure that both we can
restore debt sustainability and we can ensure the necessary
financing. Greece has shown that it is serious about reforms,
both in fiscal consolidation and structural reforms. Now it is
essential that we will be able to clear the air from all
uncertainty about Greece, still hanging over Greece and thus
over all of the euro zone."
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
ASKED ABOUT DIFFERENCES WITH IMF OVER GREEK DEBT
"We have no argument with the IMF. The IMF has its own
conditions on what is sustainable and what isn't. Because the
IMF is a globally well regarded and well trusted organisation,
we Europeans have asked the IMF to take part.
"That's what it is doing and we now have to find a common
solution. It's not easy, otherwise we wouldn't need that many
ASKED IF THERE WOULD BE A NEW PROGRAMME FOR GREECE:
"I said we have a gap within the existing programme. You can
see from that that we have a gap. If we didn't have one, we
wouldn't have to consult. I hope that we'll have a joint
proposal on how we can do that today."
"We're constantly working. So we've made some progress but
not so much progress that we can announce the results of today's
meeting already or we wouldn't need a meeting."
ON GREEK FUNDING GAP:
"We must find a way in the framework of the agreed programme
with Greece on the basis of the troika report to see how we can
(address) the consequences of the worsening of the economic
situation... and the delays that resulted from the two elections
in Greece (and) how we can close the gap.
"If we get troika proposals now, we will consult on them and
if we get to a joint solution, which I hope, but don't know,
then we will make those proposals to national parliaments, which
can then consult and if they agree we can get this going next
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE
"We're going to work very constructively to see if we can
find a solution for Greece. That's what really is our goal, our
purpose and our mission."
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER MARIA FEKTER
ON FUNDING FOR GREECE:
"We will have to see how we will raise the funds related to
extending the programme for Greece. We will also intensely
discuss the oversight of the payout in how far the different
parts of the payment can be supervised.
"Certainly there will be a lot of emphasis on privatisation.
You remember that in the first programme we envisioned 50
billion euros and I'm sure that not only Austria but also my
other colleagues will insist that we do not deviate from this
DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM
WHAT ABOUT A THIRD PACKAGE FOR GREECE?
"That's not up for debate. We are looking for a solution
within the current programme. The other red line we have drawn
is that we won't take a writedown on bilateral loans that we
have with Greece."
ASKED IF THERE WILL BE A DEAL FOR PAYMENT TO GREECE:
"I hope so and I think it's important. But I will only agree
if such a deal is thorough and the information is there and I'm
confident that we have the right basis to continue with Greece.
"I'm talking about what we can expect from them and we will
make further agreements there. It's also about whether their
state debt is sustainable and that's important for the IMF
(International Monetary Fund) and for the Netherlands."
"I'm quite relaxed. I will only make a decision if it has a
good basis, if the information is there, if there is a plan for
continuation and, indeed, if the IMF continues to work with us.
That's an important prerequisite for the Netherlands."
ASKED HOW MUCH GREECE SHOULD GET:
"The solution has to be found in the current programme. As
far as we're concerned they can be given some extra time and
those are the variations."
EUROGROUP PRESIDENT JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER
ON GREEK REFORMS AND RESUMPTION OF LENDING:
"It is clear that Greece has delivered.
"We must still reach an understanding on several details and
I would expect that the chances are good that we will come to a
final and joint solution this evening. But I'm not entirely
certain... about the matter."
ASKED IF GREECE WOULD BE GIVEN TILL 2022 TO CUT ITS DEBT TO
120 PCT OF GDP, RATHER THAN TARGET DATE OF 2020:
"This will be a point of our debate tonight."
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, Robin Emmott, Annika Breidthardt,
Robert-Jan Bartunek and John O'Donnell, compiled by Rex