Greek deal prospects rise, euro ministers to meet

As reported by Lefteris Papadimas and John O’Donnell from Reuters – Prospects of a deal on a second international bailout for Greece rose on Wednesday when euro zone finance ministers were summoned to talks in Brussels while Greek political leaders met to approve a tough reform and austerity program.

Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker invited ministers from the 17-nation single currency area to meet on Thursday evening and the International Monetary Fund said managing director Christine Lagarde would also attend.

They are expected to examine a complex package involving a 130 billion euro EU/IMF rescue and a bond swap with private creditors, which hinges on Athens accepting conditions that require big cuts in many Greeks’ living standards.

Juncker went ahead and called the meeting even though leaders of the three Greek coalition parties were still discussing with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos the terms of a rescue package to avoid a chaotic default in March that would send wider tremors around the world economy.

International lenders are demanding that the leaders of the conservative New Democracy party, PASOK socialists and far-right LAOS commit themselves in writing to implement the program of pay and pension cuts, structural and administrative reforms.

After a series of delays, the leaders finally received a 15-page document on Wednesday morning laying out the principles of the bailout and its conditions, a party official told Reuters. Attached were a further 30 or so pages laying out how the program will be implemented.

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