OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada’s finance minister sounded upbeat that Europe will resolve the Greek debt crisis next week following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Friday.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty met with Monti in Rome, where the two discussed issues on the agenda for a meeting of finance ministers from the G20 industrialized and emerging economies in Mexico City Feb 25-26.
“In the meantime we’re cautiously optimistic that there’ll be a solution to the situation in Greece next week, before we get to Mexico City, which will be finally an accomplishment that in our view should have been done some time ago,” Flaherty told BNN television.
“It’s very important that that get done, that the firewall be adequate and that this problem in the euro zone be contained.”
Flaherty traveled to Rome to attend a ceremony in which Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins was to be elevated to the position of cardinal.
Euro zone leaders will hold a crunch meeting on Monday to try to finalize a new rescue package for Greece worth 130 billion euros ($170 billion).
Flaherty also made clear Canada remains aligned with Washington in opposing additional International Monetary Fund resources to help Europe deal with the crisis, an issue sure to dominate Group of 20 talks in Mexico.
“We’re being asked the wrong question. The question that should be asked of non-European members of the G20 is the question about when will the Europeans put all their necessary resources on the table,” Flaherty said.
“The sine qua non is that Europe moves first.”
Senior U.S. officials also stressed on Thursday that more funding from international lenders is not what Europe needs and that more IMF money could not substitute for a strong and credible European firewall and response.
Reporting By Louise Egan; Editing by Peter Galloway