March 1, 2012 / 1:01 PM / 5 years ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels

BRUSSELS, March 1 (Reuters) - Euro zone finance ministers and officials were meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss Greece's private sector bond exchange and implementation of the Greek authorities' commitments to economic and structural reforms.

Following are comments from ministers and other officials ahead of their meeting:

GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE

ON GREEK DEBT SWAP:

"If the conditions are met they we can decide today that we can release things that we need, so that the swap for Greece and private creditors is put on track.

"What I have heard it looks like Greece has made large strides. That is why I think the we will take an important step forward.

"The European Council is dealing with questions of growth. This is the limited task of finance ministers which should help bring about the next step of Greece. It is a long path. If Greece had no problems and a good economic position then we would not be here."

ON SECOND BAILOUT FOR GREECE:

"Greece has committed to a series of measures until the end of February. That is the condition for us to take the next step with the involvement of private creditors to bring about a reduction in total debt.

"And if it all goes to plan then we can agree a new programme for Greece, which would have the goal of enabling growth, bringing finances in order and reaching debt sustainability by 2020.

"It is proceeding.

The second Greek programme is not at all decided..... It is really premature to talk about a third."

GREEK FINANCE MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS

ON PRIVATE BONDHOLDER PARTICIPATION IN GREEK BOND EXCHANGE:

"After the decisions of the last Eurogroup for the adoption of the new support program of the Greek economy and the official launch of PSI, we are waiting for the response of the market.

"As you know, the concrete form of the bond exchange is agreed with the private sector and everybody understands very well that we have four very important and attractive elements: the co-financing, the English law, the sweetener in cash and the GDP warrants. This is a very good, a unique offer.

"I am sure that the market understands very well how clear is my message."

IMF MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE

"We will look at the work of the Greek authorities. I have a positive impression about the good work that has been done in the last hours."

SPANISH ECONOMY MINISTER LUIS DE GUINDOS

ON SPANISH BUDGET PLANS FOR 2012 AND DEFICIT IN 2011:

"We are not going to decide anything tomorrow, we are going to explain our budget policies, how last year ended."

"I want to reiterate Spain's commitment to reforms, to transparency and that is what I am going to say to Eurogroup colleagues."

"Spain is going to meet all its commitments in terms of budget adjustments, taking into account the fact that the situation has changed. The previous government had agreed to reduce the deficit to 4.4 percent based on growth of 2.3 percent, which is not the case today."

"Our commitment to austerity is absolutely clear." (Reporting by John O'Donnell, Robin Emmott and Harry Papachristou)

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