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Greek Debt Crisis

Greek debt meeting moved to conference call

Stephen Beard Feb 15, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Now to Europe, where there was supposed to be a big important meeting today. Eurozone finance ministers were going to decide if Greece had done enough budget cutting to get more bailout money. But, once again, the deadline has been pushed back and the meeting postponed.

Marketplace’s Stephen Beard, who is always there when we call and always on time, joins us now from London. Good morning, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello Jeremy.

Hobson: Why did they cancel this meeting?

Beard: It’s probably because they can’t stand the site of each other anymore; tempers are definitely fraying. No, this is all part of the feverish brinkmanship that’s been going on.

Germany and the rest of the eurozone are saying to the Greeks: we’re not satisfied you’re ready to cut your budget and reform your economy. You’re not getting any bailout money unless you give us a cast iron commitment that you will comply, so don’t bother to show your face in Brussels today — we’ll talk on the phone instead.

Hobson: They’re going to talk on the phone. Are phone conversations as good as an in-person meeting?

Beard: Not really. They do happen all the time in Europe. But look, it is possible that they will all meet face-to-face as planned in Brussels next Monday and authorize the bailout. But who knows?

There’s one story that’s being openly discussed in Brussels at the moment that the Germans have reached the end of their tether; that they’ve finally said: enough is enough. That they may decide that Greece will not get bailed out and may be forced to default — but that the eurozone feels it can now withstand a Greek default without falling apart. That’s one possibility that is now being openly discussed.

Hobson: Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London, thanks Stephen.

Beard: OK Jeremy.

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