Euro zone finance ministers call off meet over Greece bailout
The euro zone finance ministers have called off an emergency meeting in Brussels today, which was intended to approve a US $ 170 billion financial rescue package for Greece, raising new fears that the debt-laden nation may be heading to a default on its loans.business Updated: Feb 15, 2012 15:49 IST
The euro zone finance ministers have called off an emergency meeting in Brussels today, which was intended to approve a US $ 170 billion financial rescue package for Greece, raising new fears that the debt-laden nation may be heading to a default on its loans.
As Greece has not fulfilled the conditions set by the European Union and the IMF to receive the second bailout package, the finance ministers agreed to cancel their meeting and to hold a telephone conference instead, Chairman of the euro group Jean-Claude Juncker said.
The latest postponement of a decision to release the second bailout, which was offered by the EU leaders last October, comes a day after the Greek parliament passed a new package of tough austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF, which triggered massive protests in Athens and in other Greek cities.
Greece's new austerity programme passed on Sunday night was one of the conditions set by the EU and the IMF to release the proposed financial assistance, which it urgently needs to avert a default on repaying 14.5 billion euro debts due on March 20.
The austerity plan is intended to save upto 3.3 billion euros through drastic reduction of public sector jobs, cuts in minimum wages and pensions and freezing of salaries.
However, the EU-IMF demand for a written undertaking by Greece's major political parties that they will implement the austerity programme regardless of the outcome of the parliamentary election in April has not been fulfilled, Juncker said in a statement.
The Greek government also has not presented a clear plan on how it intended to save an additional 325 million euros this year demanded by the EU and the IMF.
The "Troika" experts of the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank must continue to work with the Greek government to resolve the remaining differences in these areas, he said.
"Against this background, I have decided to convene ministers to a conference call tomorrow in order to discuss the outstanding issues and to prepare the ordinary meeting of the euro group on February 20," Juncker said.