Focus shifts back to Greece at European summit

Members of the 'I wont pay' movement wave flags and banners in front the Parliament building during a rally to protest against austerity in Athens, January 17, 2012. If Greece isn't able to get the rest of their bailout fund, it could mean disaster for the rest of Europe.

Jeremy Hobson: European leaders are meeting today in Brussels to try and move forward on a new treaty -- one that would force European countries to keep their budgets in order. But as usual, things aren't going exactly as planned. And this morning, that's thanks to Greece.

Ion-Marc Valahu is co-founder of Clairinvest Asset Management Fund. He's with us from Geneva, Switzerland. Good morning.

Ion-Marc Valahu: Good morning.

Hobson: First of all, just tell me if I've got this right: so European leaders, they're meeting in Brussels today. And the focus was supposed to be on this new treaty that forces countries to get their deficits under control. But none of that really matters until Greece makes a deal with its lenders so it can get more bailout money. Is that all correct?

Valahu: Yes, absolutely. For the last maybe, four weeks to a month, the Greek issue was off the radar; it was pretty much a done deal that the restructuring of the debt would go through. But unfortunately, as we are getting closer to the major deadline of the March 14 debt payment, we still have no deal. So therefore all of the news headlines have been pushed back, and the central issue coming back to the forefront is the Greek negotiations.

Hobson: And so when this summit that is going on in Brussels is over, where are we going to be that's different from where we are now?

Valahu: Well I don't think this will be the end of the summits. European leaders have a history of enjoying summits, so therefore we'll have some more. This one will not solve anything. It might get them closer together, but looking at what's going on with the Greek negotiations, they can't get everybody to agree. So it's a difficult time.

Hobson: Ion-Marc Valahu is co-founder of Clairinvest Asset Management Fund, speaking with us from Geneva. Ion-Marc, thanks so much.

Valahu: Thank you very much.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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