(Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers met on Tuesday to discuss a second financing package for debt-laden Greece, ahead of a self-imposed June 20 deadline for a deal.
Following are comments after their talks:
LUXEMBOURG‘S FINANCE MINISTER LUC FRIEDEN ON FINDING A SOLUTION FOR GREECE:
“I am convinced, already for weeks, we will find a solution to the challenges we are facing.”
“Each time we meet and we discuss, we are coming closer to common views. That’s why we have these informal meetings. So it’s not exceptional at an informal meeting not to have a decision. But the goal is clearly to have a solution by the end of this month.”
“We are moving ahead. I am optimistic, even if I am not sure we will find a solution next week, but within the next two weeks, I believe a solution should be (reached).”
”We have to be very careful that this is not considered to be a credit event, to be very careful that this does not lead to a rating downgrade. And it’s only under these strict limitations that we can move toward private sector involvement.
“So limited private sector involvement that does not have the risk of contagion to other countries is something that we are analyzing both technically and politically.”
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE ASKED ABOUT TALKS ON A GREEK FINANCING PLAN:
“There has been no result.”
“The financing is accessible from tomorrow for the coming weeks. Finding a medium term solution will take a bit more time for Greece. We said there would be no decision tonight. The objective is to try to arrive at a decision by our next meeting. We will meet again on Sunday in Luxembourg.”
Following are some comments from earlier in the day, ahead of the euro zone ministers’ talks:
BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER DIDIER REYNDERS ON PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION:
“We need a very big effort from Greece to implement its plan. We need aid from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, but we also need to convince all our partners in the financial sector -- banks, pension funds, insurers, to participate, and that would mean a voluntary participation to maintain their exposure to Greece.”
“We are very close to an agreement with all (private) partners. But there must be a balance: a real effort on Greece’s part -- help from the IMF, the euro zone and the European Union; and participation of the private sector. We are heading in the right direction.”
“It would be too dangerous to do that. Not only now for Greece and then maybe later for Portugal and Ireland. Otherwise it would not be possible, after such a decision, to turn to the private sector again for financing.”
ASKED IF APPROVAL BY THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB) WAS NECESSARY FOR A PLAN:
“It is not a legal prerequisite as such... (But) going against what the ECB wants would not make any sense for a monetary union. We must coordinate our fiscal and monetary policies.”
GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE ON ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR GREECE:
“One element of a future additional program is an involvement of the private sector. We are speaking about the details as to how this can be done. The German government is prepared to participate in further additional measures.”
IRISH MINISTER OF STATE FOR FINANCE BRIAN HAYES ON GREEK SITUATION:
“Obviously we’ve got to resolve this not only from our own perspective... or the perspective of Greece, but particularly the perspective of the euro. Having stability and confidence in the euro -- that’s important for Ireland.”
“I‘m not speculating as to the outcome of the Greece situation. Clearly there is a timeline on the Greece issue, between now and mid-July. We’ve ... an opportunity collectively as euro zone countries to work on a solution and that’s what we are here to do today.”
”The markets aren’t distinguishing between the peripheral countries at the moment and I think the view of the Irish government is absolutely clear that we are at an early stage in the implementation of the financial program. We are making good progress, all of the international organizations, from the IMF to the OECD to the Commission here in Brussels have said we have made a good start.
“And the real task for Ireland is to get back to the market at the soonest possible opportunity. The government is committed to that and we hope that the policies we are pursuing at home will deliver that result for Ireland, which is in everybody’s interests.”
“We are in favor of trying to find a responsible solution in which private sector involvement is possible. I don’t know yet how to make it. Most of the countries have indicated that some form of private sector involvement is crucial. I want to underline that we have to avoid, whatever it takes, the next financial crisis. The balance is very difficult.”
”I called this meeting to prepare next Monday’s meeting. We will bring everyone up to the same state of information.
“We will examine various options... This is an informational meeting today, so that we come as close as possible to a conclusion next week in Luxembourg.”
”Austria has shown through the Vienna Initiative how a participation of the private sector is possible.
”We must look at the issues from a legal point of view because it cannot be considered as insolvency or credit default. That would put the ECB in a difficult position and would unsettle financial markets immediately.
“The participation of the private sector relieves the countries and it is always good when you consider the efforts being made in Greece and with a view to growth when the private sector is involved. The Vienna Initiative has shown how a voluntary market possibility is possible.”