Key upcoming dates in the eurozone debt crisis
(BRUSSELS) - European leaders and finance ministers are holding a flurry of meetings in coming weeks to decide the next steps on the Greek debt bailout and whether to boost the monetary union's emergency fund.
Here are the key dates:
- March 2:
On the second day of a European Union summit, 25 of the bloc's 27 leaders signed a new fiscal pact that will force governments to set laws on balanced budgets, with the threat of sanctions for miscreants.
At least 12 countries need to ratify the pact for it to come into force. Britain and the Czech Republic, both outside the eurozone, have opted out of the pact.
Although the pact is supposed to apply to the 17-nation eurozone, Ireland plans to hold a referendum while French socialist Francois Hollande, favourite to win presidential elections, wants additional measures in the treaty.
- March 12:
The Eurogroup holds a regular meeting.
- March 13:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to travel to Rome for talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti that are expected to focus on a decision awaited by international partners on boosting the rescue fund.
Greece and its private creditors complete a bond swap of unprecedented size to erase 107 billion euros from the country's 350-billion-euro debt mountain.
The International Monetary Fund is meanwhile expected to decide on the size of its contribution to the Greek bailout, with the figure floated so far revolving around 13 billion euros.
- March 30:
The Eurogroup meets in Copenhagen, a non-euro country holding the EU's rotating presidency.
- By end March:
Eurozone leaders may hold a special summit to decide on the size of the permanent rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which comes into force on July 1.
The discussion was taken off the agenda of the March 1-2 summit because Germany, Europe's top economy and biggest bailout contributor, is reluctant to boost the size of the ESM. Berlin wants to keep the fund at 500 billion euros, while other nations want to increase it to 750 billion euros.
Finance ministers of the Group of 20 leading world economies are expected to decide an increase in the IMF's resources. The Washington-based lender of last resort indicated in January that it was looking for more contributions to raise its lending capacity by 500 billion euros.
But before they pour more money into the IMF, G20 nations want their partners in the eurozone to boost the size of their own defences.
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