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Samaras in Brussels for EU budget meeting

 Greece debt issue expected to discussed on summit sidelines

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was on Thursday expected to hold talks with Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels.

Samaras, who is in Belgium for a European Union summit on the 27-member bloc's budget, is likely to also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reports said.

A German official reportedly said that EU leaders were likely to discuss Greece's debt crisis on the sidelines of the summit.

"Greece is not on the agenda of the summit, but I expect it could be a topic in conversations between the leaders,” Reuters quoted the official as saying.

Samaras hopes to receive some reassurance that a solution to Greece’s debt sustainability problem would be found when eurozone finance ministers meet again on Monday.

Merkel engendered some optimism on Wednesday by saying an agreement to release aid to Athens was possible at Monday's Eurogroup meeting.

After 11 hours of talks, a meeting between eurozone ministers and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde broke up Wednesday morning without concluding either on the disbursement of up to 44 billion euros in loan tranches Athens is expecting next month, nor on how to reduce its runaway debt.

The failure to reach a deal was a blow to Samaras and his increasingly-fragile coalition government, which had argued that the austerity package passed this month would lead to both issues being resolved.

“Greece did what it had to and what it had committed to,” Samaras said in a statement before he flew to Brussels. “Our partners now have a duty to meet the responsibilities they have assumed,” he said.

Speaking in Parliament, alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras ruled out any fresh austerity measures.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday November 22, 2012 (12:28)  
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