NEWS

Merkel, Rehn upbeat on Eurogroup meeting

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday said she expected eurozone finance ministers to green-light the payment of a next tranche of loans for Greece and hailed the debt-hit nation's reform drive.

Greece's bond buyback qualifies it for delayed aid, Merkel told the Bundestag ahead of a key Brussels meeting Thursday.

Greece will buy back 31.9 billion euros ($41.5 billion) of its bonds from private investors at a third of their nominal price, the debt agency said Wednesday, lightening its crushing debt load and meeting a key condition to receive vital rescue loans

The German Chancellor also welcomed a decision by European Union finance ministers to put the European Central Bank in charge of all euro area banks. The deal paves the way for the common currency bloc's firewall fund to provide direct bailouts.

Merkel said the decision was in line with Berlin's key demands.

“The importance of the deal cannot be too highly assessed... We succeeded in securing Germany's key demands,” she said.

Speaking ahead of the Eurogroup meeting Thursday, the EU's top economic official, Olli Rehn, also expressed “confidence” that a decision on Greece would be reached that will “remove the clouds” over the country's future.

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