Eurozone finance ministers hold emergency talks on Greece

08:10, February 11, 2010      

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Finance ministers from the euro zone were holding emergency phone talks on Wednesday, raising hopes that the European Union (EU) may step in to contain the fallout from Greece's fiscal woes.

According to the French Le Monde daily, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the eurogroup of 16 finance ministers from the countries using the common currency, was to join in the talks.

Eurozone finance ministers had scheduled a regular monthly meeting in Brussels on Monday, but the recent turbulence on the European financial markets caused by Greece's debt crisis made an earlier discussion necessary.

It was feared that a government debt crisis was spreading from Greece to other countries on the periphery of the euro zone, such as Spain and Portugal, posing a threat to the overall stability of the whole monetary union.

Greece has presented a plan to lower its budgetary deficits to within EU limits by 2012. The measure last week was endorsed by the European Commission but markets remain nervous about Greece's ability to implement the plan.

Wednesday's emergency phone talks came one day before EU leaders were to meet in Brussels with Greece's fiscal woes expected to be one of the main agenda topics.

Speculation ran high that the EU may have to bail out Greece in order to prevent the turbulence from becoming worse.

An EU source said the leaders may come out with a statement on Greece's government debt crisis.

It was reported that Germany, the EU's economic heavyweight, was considering a plan to lead support for Greece.

Under EU rules, the euro zone as a whole can't bail out individual members, but national governments can help each other on a bilateral basis.

Source: Xinhua
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