It’s the fifth time this year European leaders are meeting in Brussels.
Once again, they’ll be discussing how to solve Greece’s debt problems and how to stop them spreading to the rest of the euro zone, especially to larger economies like Italy and Spain.
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the Eurogroup, insists the European currency isn’t in danger.
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“We have the Greek problem and the problem of the public debt of several member states so I think today we need to reach a comprehensive solution so that we don’t need to continue meeting every 15 days to complete the package. We need an integral package that is well thought out.”
The leaders need to agree on how Greece’s second bailout, worth 115 billion euros ($165.4 billion), could involve the private sector.
As has often been the case during the debt crisis, the agreement of Europe’s paymasters France and Germany is key to any deal.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met before the summit, along with ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet.
Sources say they agreed the Greek package will not include a tax on banks, but a buyback of Greek debt instead.
Merkel has already admitted the summit is unlikely to resolve the crisis completely, but is the latest in a series of steps to tackle Greece’s problems with debt and competitiveness.
The crisis has worried investors, but shares rose in morning trade on Greek, Portuguese and Spanish stock exchanges.
Spain and Italy have seen the cost of borrowing soar recently, and Franco Pavoncello from the Cabot University in Rome says they will be closely watching the meeting.
“If a strong message doesn’t come out in terms of Europe being willing to save Greece and to find a solution to the Greek problem, then the speculators – who are going to be looking for countries who are still in the market in order to speculate against – might be sort of re-energized in terms of their speculation against Italy and Spain.”
EU leaders have been criticized for how they’ve handled the crisis. And analysts have warned the global economy will suffer if Europe doesn’t act decisively about Greece.
Bottom line: European leaders meet in Brussels as they aim to discuss the details of Greece’s second bailout and how to prevent Athens’ debt problems from spreading to larger economies like Italy and Spain.