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The News Line: News EU crisis meetings over Greece GREEK Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is holding meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande this week, in a bid to negotiate the release of 31.5bn euros in bailout loans next month.

The round of meetings began yesterday with Greece’s foreign minister Dimitris Avramopoulos being interviewed in Berlin by his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle.

Samaras is to meet Eurogroup finance minister chief, Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, tomorrow.

Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said: ‘The basis for all decisions in the case of Greece is the report of the (EC-IMF-ECB) Troika.’

German weekly Der Spiegel said that an initial assessment by EC-IMF-ECB inspectors suggested Greece may need to cover a financing hole of up to 14bn euros over the next two years, rather than the 11.5bn Athens has identified for 2013 and 2014.

European Affairs Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said yesterday: ‘There’s a process we’re engaged in to evaluate the efforts made by Greece in recent months, which we know was set back by elections. We’ll evaluate the situation and try to take a common position.’

He added: ‘We want countries to meet their commitments and we want the European Union to create conditions that will generate growth.’

Germany’s deputy finance minister, Steffen Kampeter, said: ‘It is important that both sides should keep to what we agreed.

‘We will decide in an orderly, fair and transparent procedure in Europe. The key to this lies not in Berlin, but in Athens.’

Insisting the Greek working class must be made to pay, Finland’s minister for European affairs and foreign trade, Alexander Stubb, told reporters: ‘There will be no third (aid) package if it (Greece) does not make structural reforms.’

On Saturday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned that ‘we cannot responsibly throw money into a bottomless pit.’

Finland’s foreign minister, Erkki Tuomioja said: ‘The most important question is, is there a method or a will to keep the euro together without Greece.’

He added: ‘This is something that everyone is looking into but it is not something that can or should be discussed openly.’
 
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