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Focus on Greece at EU summit

Thursday, March 01, 2012 - 02:04

Mar.01 - Euro zone finance ministers and officials gather in Brussels to discuss Greece's private sector bond exchange and implementation of the Greek authorities' commitments to economic and structural reforms. Ciara Sutton reports

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Greece is under the microscope yet again. EU Leaders meeting in Brussels want to see how well the country is implementing new reforms. Finance ministers are yet to sign off on the country's second bailout of 130 billion euros. They demanded Greece take dozens of austerity actions before any aid is released. The cuts have been met with continual backlash across the streets of Athens. The meeting will also focus on how to stimulate growth and create jobs in the region. While the euro zone is far from being in the clear, there are signs that a corner may soon be turned. EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EU COUNCIL PRESIDENT HERMAN VAN ROMPUY SAYING: "The measures taken both at the level of the member states and the eurozone as a whole to stabilise the situation are bearing fruit. We are seeing clear signs of stabilisation in the financial markets, interest rates decreased dramatically in a lot of countries, but we are not complacent and remain vigilant and ready to act." As well as striking a deal to cut Greece's private sector debt, the euro zone has backed legislation for other countries in the bloc to tighten budget rules. Twenty five of the EU's 27 countries will sign up to a 'fiscal treaty' committing them to balancing their budgets. EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said these steps had laid the ground for leaders to focus more on promoting growth. (SOUNDBITE) (French) EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT JOSE MANUEL BARROSO SAYING: "Now we have more time to focus our debate on growth and employment once again. We have spent more time today talking about growth, specific measures for youth employment, for example, we spent more time discussing that today than last year." Finance Ministers are expected to meet again on March 12th. This would be the first possible date that Greece's bailout fund could be approved. Ciara Sutton, Reuters

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Focus on Greece at EU summit

Thursday, March 01, 2012 - 02:04