Bloomberg News

Flaherty Says ‘Optimistic’ on Greece Solution Next Week

February 18, 2012

(Updates with Flaherty comments from third paragraph.)

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he is “cautiously optimistic” that Greece’s efforts to obtain another bailout package will be resolved next week before a scheduled meeting of Group of 20 policy makers.

Flaherty, in an interview with BNN Television from Rome, said any resolution needs to include a mechanism that will allow the International Monetary Fund to track progress.

“The preferable resolution would be an appropriate austerity program in Greece properly monitored,” Flaherty said, after meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. “The alternative is a disorderly exit by Greece from the euro zone.”

A European-funded resolution to the crisis needs to be a condition for any additional help from the IMF, said Flaherty, after he met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. G-20 finance ministers and central bankers will meet Feb. 25 and Feb. 26 in Mexico City.

“They are fully capable, they have the fiscal capacity to do so, instead of coming to the non-European G20 countries and asking us to pony up,” Flaherty said. “So the sine qua non is that Europe moves first.”

Flaherty said he will aim to release a fiscal plan before April 1 that will seek a “balance” between encouraging growth and reducing the country’s deficit.

--With assistance from Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa. Editors: Paul Badertscher, Gail DeGeorge

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Mayeda in Ottawa at amayeda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net


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