Germany, France pledge to save Greece, euro
October 31, 2012, 12:02 am TWN
BERLIN -- The finance ministers of Germany and France pledged on Tuesday to do everything possible to ensure a Greek rescue plan can be sealed next month, and to save the 17-nation eurozone.
Asked about Greece's long-delayed payment of debt rescue funds, France's Pierre Moscovici said: "We still want a comprehensive solution in the month of November to put an end to the uncertainty (in the eurozone) and we will do everything in our power to succeed."
Germany's Wolfgang Schaeuble added: "We will do everything France and Germany can to restore lasting confidence in the common European currency."
The ministers had attended a conference in Berlin called "Europe Beyond the Crisis" and then held talks on the sidelines.
On Wednesday eurozone finance ministers — the Eurogroup — will hold a conference call on Greece to examine its progress in meeting economic targets set to unblock a vital 31.2-billion-euro (US$40.4 billion) installment of aid.
They are also to discuss Greece's request for a two-year extension to implement the tough austerity measures that are part of its bailout package, which would make the new deadline 2016.
The extension would further increase the huge cost of Greece's bailout package by 30 billion euros, according to a European source.
Greece has been locked in negotiations with the so-called troika of auditors representing its EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank creditors over a 13.5-billion-euro austerity package.
Approval of the package is necessary for Greece to receive the next installment of its multi-billion rescue loans, as the prime minister has said the country's money will run out on Nov. 16.
Moscovici assured Athens of the support of the two top economies in the eurozone.
"We share a dual determination: the determination for Greece to stay in the eurozone and the determination as well for Greece to carry out the necessary reforms so that the eurozone can remain intact as a result of its own efforts," Moscovici said, flanked by Schaeuble.