Bloomberg News

Greece Default Not a Topic in Brussels Talks Today, EU Aide Says

February 09, 2012

(See EXT4 for more on the euro-area financial crisis.)

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- A default by Greece and its impact won’t be on the table at an emergency meeting of euro-area finance ministers today even after bailout talks in Athens stalled, said a European official familiar with the discussions.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos headed to Brussels after all-night negotiations with the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund over a 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) rescue broke down over 300 million euros in pension savings.

With a 14.5 billion-euro Greek bond payment due next month, European policy makers and investors are seeking to advance toward a deal to extend Greece a financial lifeline. The euro finance chiefs, joined by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, will convene at 6 p.m.

That gathering will follow the monthly meeting of the ECB’s governing council in Frankfurt and an assembly of Greek creditors in Paris. While no information was provided about the ministers’ agenda, the scheduling suggests policy makers, who have to ratify a Greek accord, were optimistic about reaching an agreement in Athens.

“We look forward to a successful outcome of that meeting,” Amadeu Altafaj, the European Commission’s economic- affairs spokesman, told reporters yesterday in Brussels. “The ball is in the Greek authorities’ court.”

The rescue is slated to include a 50 percent cut in the face value of more than 200 billion euros of Greek debt through a voluntary exchange by private creditors of outstanding bonds for new securities. The package is also supposed to offer 130 billion euros in public aid.

--With assistance from Sandrine Rastello in Washington, Maria Petrakis in Athens and Zoe Schneeweiss in Vienna. Editors: James Hertling, Patrick G. Henry

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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