(Adds Schaeuble, further quote from Spanish minister)
BRUSSELS Nov 26 Euro zone finance ministers and
the International Monetary Fund will seek to unfreeze the second
bailout package for Greece in talks on Monday, but they must
first agree if some of the official loans to Athens might
eventually be forgiven to cut Greek debt.
Following are comments ahead of their talks:
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE
ON A CUT IN GREEK DEBT HELD BY PUBLIC CREDITORS:
"In the Eurogroup meeting two weeks ago all member states of
the euro zone said that due to their national legal situation
they would not be able to cut debt if it was linked to a new
"You cannot guarantee something if you're cutting debt at
the same time. That's not just the case in Germany, it's the
case in all member states. All colleagues have said it like this
two weeks ago. That's why it's a bad habit to turn it into a
typically German problem, it's not a German problem, it's a
problem in the euro zone that all are saying that the
construction of the rescue funds does not allow for a debt cut.
"The European Central Bank says the same, that it is not
prepared (to cut debt) and it is the largest public creditor."
ON REACHING AGREEMENT FOR GREECE:
"We will find a solution, I'm optimistic, we have worked
well. I hope we don't have to negotiate until the late hours. We
are prepared to come to a solution and I think we will manage
SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER LUIS DE GUINDOS
ON AGREEMENT FOR GREECE:
"I think we are very close, we need to agree on Greece's
debt level. It is crucial to reach agreement, it would be a
message of confidence, not just for Greece, but for the whole
euro zone. It is important to send out a clear political
ON EU REGULATORY APPROVAL ON NOV. 28 FOR SPANISH BANK
"On Wednesday, (EU Competition) Commissioner (Joaquin)
Almunia will definitively approve the Spanish banks'
restructuring plan, essentially those that are nationalised.
"From there, the restructuring plans will establish the path
to follow over a period of five years... We already have our
capital needs defined, all this sticks to the memorandum of
understanding (on bank rescue). I don't think we will see any
ON THE ALLOCATION OF IN FINANCING FOR SPANISH BANKS PLAN:
"For the nationalised banks... the amount is going to be
around 37 billion euros. On top of that, we will have a capital
injection and the FROB (restructuring fund)... and the limited
capital needs to banks who are not in the first group. In all,
we are talking about 40 billion euros, which is the number we
have always had in mind, about 3.5 percent of GDP."
IRISH FINANCE MINISTER MICHAEL NOONAN
ASKED WHAT THE PROSPECTS ARE FOR A DEAL FOR GREECE:
"Pretty good, I think. There was a teleconference on
Saturday in which we all participated and quite a lot of
progress was made. I assume there were discussions in the IMF at
"So I would be hoping that we will come to a satisfactory
conclusion this evening. But you can't be absolutely certain.
Certainly the ground has now been laid.
"We were establishing a common position in the Eurogroup on
Saturday. That common position has been put to the IMF, we'll
see how this works out today.
"There is a variety of issues - it comes down to the ways
and means to accommodate the Greek position, there is a
willingness to do so, its work out the details..."
WILL GREEK DEBTS TO OFFICIAL SECTOR BONDHOLDERS BE CUT
(OFFICIAL SECTOR INVOLVEMENT):
"Not in the sense that it is accepted now, I do not want to
go into the details."
FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER PIERRE MOSCOVICI
ON POSSIBILITY OF AGREEMENT ON AID FOR GREECE:
"It's the third meeting in three weeks and there was also a
telephone meeting on Saturday. All the parameters of the
solution are on the table. We are facing our responsibilities.
"I hope today's meeting will be conclusive and I hope it
will be not too long because if everyone is responsible, we know
what we have to do. The mechanisms are known to everyone. The
different levers on which we can act are known to everyone.
"We have an agreement that is 95 percent possible
immediately. Let's go quickly and leave here with a deal that
will allow us to finance the Greek programme, to disburse the
aid that we must put in place and to ensure the sustainability
of the Greek debt in the medium term."
GREEK FINANCE MINISTER YANNIS STOURNARAS
"As you know Greece has fully delivered its part of the
agreement, so we expect our partners to deliver their part too,
and I'm certain we will find a mutually beneficial solution
AUSTRIAN FINANCE MINISTER MARIA FEKTER
ON NEXT TRANCHE OF AID FOR GREECE:
"We have the serious intent to come to a conclusion, on the
one hand about the financing, and on the other hand regarding
the plan of sustainable Greek debt. There are still talks with
the IMF and we could decide on paying out the tranche today.
"Greece has made a huge effort, it has lived up to all the
conditions and we have nothing to criticise, so we have to make
an effort to come to a joint solution."
ASKED ABOUT A POSSIBLE CUT IN GREECE'S OWINGS (OSI):
"That's not on the agenda at the moment because we are
thinking about lowering interest rates. We are thinking about
using the large profits of the national banks to give them back
to Greece. That means it will about a mix of measures if
everybody is involved.
"A debt cut for the public bodies, and in fact the
taxpayers, was not wanted by any country."
ASKED ABOUT POSSIBLE CUT IN GREECE'S DEBT FURTHER DOWN THE
"I can't decide on funds that I know I would be losing in
2015. No, it won't work like that. We are on a path towards debt
sustainability, which will be achieved if Greece lives up to its
obligations and implements its structural reforms."
IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE
"We are going to work towards a solution that is credible
for Greece, that is what is important. It must be credible and
it must really be about Greece, and so we are going to work very
intensely on that."
EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN
ON RESUMING AID TO GREECE:
"It's essential to take the decision on the disbursement of
the next tranche in order to end the uncertainty that is still
hanging over Greece. It is important for Greece, important for
Europe and I want to encourage all the euro area member states
and the IMF to go the last mile in order to find an agreement,
in fact go the last centimetre because we are so close to an
"This is essential now, and Greece has delivered. Now it is
delivery time for the Eurogroup and the IMF."