Euro Finance Chiefs to Meet as Greece Pushes for Aid Deal

Euro-area finance ministers are due to hold an emergency meeting in Brussels tomorrow as the Greek government pushes to complete talks on terms of a rescue.

The policy makers, to be joined by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, will convene at 6 p.m., according to a statement today by Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the group of finance chiefs from the 17-nation euro area.

That gathering will follow the monthly meeting of the European Central Bank’s governing council in Frankfurt and an assembly of Greek creditors in Paris. While no information was provided about the ministers’ agenda, the scheduling suggests policy makers, who have to ratify a Greek accord, were optimistic about negotiators reaching an agreement in Athens.

The euro erased losses after the meeting was announced and was up 0.1 percent at $1.3268 at 7:30 p.m. in Brussels.

“We look forward to a successful outcome of that meeting,” Amadeu Altafaj, the European Commission’s economic-affairs spokesman, told reporters today in Brussels. “The ball is in the Greek authorities’ court.”

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos was locked in talks today with leaders of the political parties supporting his caretaker government.

Debt Swap

The rescue is slated to include a 50 percent cut in the face value of more than 200 billion euros ($265 billion) of Greek debt through a voluntary exchange by private creditors of outstanding bonds for new securities. The package is also supposed to offer 130 billion euros in public aid.

Papademos met with the domestic political chiefs after delaying the gathering for two days as Greek officials and international creditors fought over terms. He held an unscheduled meeting late last night with the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF to put final touches on the rescue plan.

Yesterday’s delay was yet another hitch in completing a package that has been in the works since last July. The Greek government, facing a 14.5 billion-euro bond payment on March 20, is struggling to arrange financing to avert a collapse of the economy.

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