ECONOMY

Eurogroup set to meet February 11 on Greece

Eurozone finance ministers are likely to hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on February 11, the day before an EU summit, to discuss Greece’s debt crisis, sources said Tuesday.

The meeting would be the first chance for new Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to meet all his counterparts in the 19-country Eurogroup after the election of a new anti-austerity government in Athens.

A European source told AFP it was “very likely” that the Eurogroup meeting would be held next Wednesday, but that a decision would be taken on Thursday after a euro working group meeting.

It would give Varoufakis a chance to “put his ideas on the table” in front of his counterparts.

Varoufakis told reporters in Rome, where he met Italian finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan as part of a tour of European capitals, that “we are going to be tabling our ideas to the Eurogroup next Wednesday’ but did not give further details.

There was no immediate confirmation from Eurogroup chief Jeroem Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister, who is responsible for calling the meetings.

Greeces new government on Tuesday outlined debt restructuring proposals to ease the 315-billion-euro burden from two international bailouts without forcing creditors to take a loss.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due in Brussels on Wednesday for talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council president Donald Tusk on the issue.

Dijsselbloem said the eurozone had to deal with the issue in a “very pragmatic way.”

“It is a new government, they won, they have very different ideas, it’s on that basis that we must negotiate… It will definitely take some time,” he told Dutch television. [AFP]