NEW YORK Nov 30 There is a very strong
commitment to ensure the euro area will not break up, the EU's
top economics official said on Friday, calling those speculating
on an exit of Greece "behind the curve".
EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn
called the deal reached earlier this week to reduce Greece's
debt burden a major milestone. He also highlighted that euro
zone finance ministers are committed to further reducing Athens'
debt if necessary once it has achieved a primary budget surplus,
which is forecast for 2016.
"This shows the euro zone is practicing what it preaches
when we say that we are ready to do whatever it takes to ensure
the sustainability and irreversibility of the euro," said Rehn
during a briefing with reporters in New York.
"Those who now speculate about the 'Grexit' are in fact
behind the curve," he later added.
Rehn declined to give an explicit target figure for Greece's
bond buyback plan with private investors, which is a key part of
the country's aid deal.
Greece aims to cut its overall indebtedness by buying back
bonds for less than it would have to pay if its creditors held
them to maturity
The euro zone is hoping Greece will be able to repurchase at
least 40 billion euros of its own bonds in a buyback operation
with private investors, two euro zone officials said on Friday.
Rehn also did not comment on a question as to whether
debt-burdened Spain will need a bailout, saying the framework
for aid is there for once a request is made by any country.
The European Central Bank's bond-buying program, unveiled in
early September, aims to support troubled countries such as
Spain by reducing their borrowing costs, provided they request
aid and submit to strict policy conditions and monitoring.
Spain has delayed requesting a bailout after the
announcement of the program alone helped to bring debt costs