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EU ministers at "critical juncture"

Monday, October 03, 2011 - 01:55

Oct. 3 - EU finance ministers meet in Luxembourg to discuss Europe's bailout fund, as Greece fuels default fears after admitting it won't hit deficit targets. Kirsty Basset reports.

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EU finance ministers arrive in Luxembourg - weighed down by Europe's debt problems. Fears of a Greek default linger, after the country admitted it won't reach its deficit targets - and ministers are under pressure. EU Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Ollie Rehn. (SOUNDBITE)(English) EU ECONOMIC AND MONETARY AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER OLLI REHN SAYING: "We are facing three main challenges: stalling growth, stressed sovereigns and still vulnerable banks." Ministers will discuss how to boost the euro zone's bailout fund, without asking member countries to provide more funding guarantees. Instead, they'll look at ways of leveraging the EFSF, possibly through a scheme with the European Central Bank. Charteris Chief executive Ian Williams explains why the problems seem to be dragging on. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHARTERIS' CHIEF EXECUTIVE IAN WILLIAMS SAYING: "Because of the complexities and political problems, involving 17 different finance ministers, it's not as easy for the European situation to be solved as it was for the Fed just to come in and print a load of dollars or the Bank of England to come in and print a load of pounds - this is a lot more complex and a lot more involved." Ministers will also put more pressure on Greece to commit to promised reforms. Despite saying it wouldn't meet the EU/IMF targets, Greece's finance minister says the country isn't entirely to blame. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER EVANGELOS VENIZELOS, SAYING: "Greece is a country with structural difficulties. But Greece is not the scapegoat of the euro area. Greece is a proud country." The health of the European banking industry is also high on the agenda - it will come under increasing pressure if Greece defaults. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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EU ministers at "critical juncture"

Monday, October 03, 2011 - 01:55