NEWS

Finmin seeks to reassure before Eurogroup summit

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos telephoned Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble on Friday, the ministry said, to brief them on the 10-point action plan he had presented in Parliament on Thursday aimed a extracting the country from its political crisis and to confirm that the government was withdrawing a proposal for a referendum on the European Union?s debt deal for Greece.

According to a written statement issued by the ministry, Venizelos told the officials that the government ?aimed to win the vote of confidence tonight, not to continue alone with the support only of MPs from ruling PASOK but to achieve the greatest possible consensus and cooperation for the benefit of the country and subsequently form a government reflecting this consensus.?

Another goal, the statement said, was to ?guarantee the implementation of the decision of October 26 [the EU debt deal] which will bolster Greece, consolidate its position within the eurozone, respect the sacrifices of the Greek people and create the prospects for the economy to start function smoothly.?

Venizelos? discussions with the EU leaders today were also ?extremely significant? in view of a scheduled Eurogroup summit in Brussels on Monday, the ministry said. ?Clearly Greece must be in a position to represent itself authoritatively at the Eurogroup and to present the political guarantees which are necessary for the disbursement of the 6th tranche of 8 billion euros,? the ministry statement said, referring to the next installment of emergency loans from foreign creditors on which the country?s solvency depends.

It is also important that the implementation of the European Council agreement of October 26 continues so that the sums necessary for thecompletion of the private sector involvement [in Greece?s bailout] and the recapitalizationof the Greek banking system can be disbursed by the end of February,? the statementadded.

It noted that these sums were ?10 times the size of the 6thtranche, at 80 billion euros? and formed a crucial part of the broader effortto save the Greek economy.