Eurozone ministers eye February 20 meeting on Greece

Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:15pm EST
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By John O'Donnell and Luke Baker

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Eurozone finance ministers abandoned a plan to gather on Wednesday to discuss aid for Greece and instead decided to talk by phone as they continued to grapple with unresolved problems over a financial rescue plan.

Greece needs a second package of financial aid to save it from disorderly default.

But its political leaders have so far failed to deliver sufficient commitments to economic reform, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It has appeared that further technical work between Greece and the troika is needed in a number of areas, including the closure of the fiscal gap of 325 million euros in 2012 and the debt sustainability analysis," Juncker said in a statement.

"Furthermore, I did not yet receive the required political assurances from the leaders of the Greek coalition parties on the implementation of the program," he said.

The delay, which is likely to worry investors who had expected a deal on Wednesday, is the latest setback in difficult negotiations to prop up Greece's finances.

After months of negotiations, private creditors agreed to take losses on their Greek bonds but only in conjunction with a rescue package for Greece.

But the Greek parliament's approval of an austerity bill on Monday resulted in violence throughout the country, and opposition politicians - who might end up in power after elections in April - have said they may renegotiate how reform is implemented.   Continued...