The head of the euro zone group of finance ministers says Greece has taken all the legal action needed to secure a second bail-out.
Speaking at a meeting of ministers in Brussels, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said ministers were now waiting for the completion of a bond swap with Greece's private lenders, due on March 8.
"All required legislation by the parliament and the ministerial cabinet has been adopted, and a few pending implementing acts should be completed shortly," Juncker said in a statement after a meeting of euro zone finance ministers.
German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble also said European leaders would take a final decision on the Greek package in a teleconference on March 9. He said the deal relied now on the extent to which private creditors would accept a loss on their holdings in order to reduce Greece's debt.
Juncker listed steps Greece had taken on fiscal consolidation, pension reform, financial sector regulation and structural reforms.
"This will allow the Greek adjustment effort to regain momentum, which - together with a rigorous implementation of the agreed policy package for the new programme - constitutes the basis for putting the public finances and the economy of Greece back on a sustainable path," Juncker said.
But a bond exchange in which private sector holders of Greek debt will swap more than €200 billion worth of bonds for new ones worth half that amount must still be completed before ministers can give their final approval to a €130 billion programme of assistance for Athens.
Included in the programme is €30 billion of "sweeteners" designed to smooth the bond-swap process. That process can now go ahead, with the euro zone's EFSF bail-out fund raising the funds to carry out the operation.
Juncker said ministers also agreed on a backstop facility for the recapitalisation of Greek banks in case of financial stability concerns. No figures were given, but Greece is expected to receive between €23 billion and €40 billion for bank recapitalisations. The bond exchange must be completed first. It opened on February 24 and is scheduled to close on March 8.
Greek deal won't trigger insurance payments
Greece's debt deal with private lenders does not constitute a "credit event" that would justify payment of insurance known as credit default swaps, a global body for such contracts said today.
The ruling, made by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, means holders of these insurance contracts, worth around €2.4 billion, will not receive payment at this stage, though further rulings based on any new questions are still possible.
The committee was asked to consider whether a "credit event" had occurred as a result of new Greek legislation that could force all bondholders to accept losses and after the European Central Bank took steps to avoid losses on its Greek bonds.
The 15 ISDA committee members voted unanimously that this did not meet the ISDA definition of a credit event.
Greek PM follows president on salary move
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has followed in the path of President Carolos Papoulias by giving up his salary to help ease the country's debt burden, a government source said today.
"It was personal decision, the Prime Minister did not feel that it had to be announced," the official, who declined to be identified, told AFP.
The Ta Nea newspaper said Papademos, a former vice-president of the European Central Bank, made the revelation yesterday during a visit to Brussels where finance ministers are to discuss a new bailout for Athens worth €130 billion. Papademos' office was unable to give details on the level of his salary.
The finance ministry yesterday released a list of its best-paid public servants, including the prime minister, which it said are entitled to salaries of more than €5,000 a month.
Deputy finance minister Filippos Sachinidis released the information in response to a parliamentary question, the semi-state Athens News Agency said. The list of pre-tax monthly salaries of over €5,000 includes President Papoulias, Papademos, cabinet ministers, junior ministers and parliament lawmakers.
The heads of Greece's ailing social insurance funds, troubled hospital managers, mayors of towns with over 100,000 residents and senior academics, judges and diplomats are also entitled to such salaries, the deputy finance minister said. Precise wages per position were not given.
President Papoulias recently announced he was giving up an annual salary of over €280,000, and civil servants have already sustained pay cuts in the last two years under Greece's unprecedented fiscal overhaul, enacted under EU-IMF supervision to address the country's worst debt crisis in decades.
The parliament in November also said that lawmaker salaries would be axed by over €46,000 for 2012, a cut of around 40%.