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MENAFN - ecPulse - 22/01/2013

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The Dutch finance minister, Jeroen Dijsselbloem, was appointed Monday as the new Chairman of the group of euro area finance ministers.

At their first meeting of the year, minister of the Eurogroup elected the 46-year-old Dutchman as head of group the 17 member states of the euro.

Surprisingly, the vote for Mr. Dijsselbloem was not unanimous! Spain would not support the appointment, said Spanish Finance ministers at the meeting.

Still, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and former Eurogroup Chief can pass the hose to the new firefighter for the euro zones sovereign crisis!

After holdings post for eight years, Juncker stepped down to the newly-installed Dutchman who will now face one of the worlds heaviest debt burdens.

Cypruss bailout bid was debated yesterday, where finance ministers discussed possible financial support for the country, with a decision likely in March.

"...It is clear were quite a distance away from being able to make a decision," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble commented on support for Cyprus.

Cyprus is seeking a financial lifeline of about 17 billion euros, almost equivalent to its annual national output, to overhaul its troubled banks and government.

With no decision before the presidential elections, Schaeuble said short-term financing is "secured" and "nobody has to create uncertainty" about it.

EU-17 Finance Ministers agree EUR9.2 bln in next Greek bailout

On Greece, Schaeuble said the country has sustained tax reforms since ministers last met, so they "can agree the payment of the next tranche" after this progress.

The finance ministers pushed out a payment of 9.2 billion euros to Greece this month, 7.2 billion of which in bond for bank capitalization and 2 billion euros in cash.

Ministers decision to award Greece the next tranche of bailout followed the countrys announcement that there would be another tax reform in May.

Schaeuble reiterated that "not every bank can have access" to the areas rescue fund under the treaty of the so-called European Stability Mechanism, or ESM.

Ministers are still seeking an accord in the first half of this year on how and when the 500-billion euro ESM can skip governments and provide direct aid to banks.

Irish and French Finance ministers led bids to go forward quickly with banking union so the ESM can be utilized as quickly as possible to shield the financial system.

On bank recapitalization of Spain, the Spanish finance minister said that progress has been made with the banking union and Spanish bank overhaul since December.

"We had the important agreement on the single banking regulator at the end of last year, and this year we must press ahead with the other pillars of banking union."


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