16 Feb 2012

Some EU members seen as trying to push Greece out

11:48 am on 16 February 2012

Greek finance minister Evangelos Venizelos says some powers within the European Union are trying to push Greece out of the eurozone.

He accused these states of "playing with fire". Mr Venizelos says Greece is constantly being given new terms and conditions for that economic bailout the country needs to avoid defaulting on its debts.

Parliament approved a package of austerity measures on Sunday, but eurozone ministers indicated that more detail needed to be given on the cuts. They are to hold at conference call on Wednesday.

Athens is hoping to obtain a 130 billion euro $US170 billion) bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Mr Venizelos said there were "very few remaining issues" with the austerity package and promised to have them "fully clarified" before the conference call.

A spokesperson for the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs insists all eurozone members want Greece to stay in the EU.

However, EU officials say Greece has failed to deliver on many of the promises it made to secure an earlier bailout deal.

Without another bailout, Greece will be unable to pay its debts and will be forced into a default. Its next debt payment is due on 20 March.

EZ comment

Afterwards, Eurogroup head Jean Claude Juncker said he's confident a decision on a second Greek financial bailout will be taken early next week.

He also said the eurozone finance ministers thought further considerations were necessary, regarding the specific mechanisms to strengthen the surveillance of Greece.