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Merkel and Junker optimistic on Greek deal

Merkel and Junker optimistic on Greek deal
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As German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the euro-zone finance ministers group on Friday both were upbeat about Greece meeting the required conditions for it to receive a second bail-out package.

EU finance ministers have to verify that before it can be approved at next week’s EU summit.

Merkel spoke as Greece submitted a debt swap offer to private holders of its government bonds.

She said: “We are checking now to see if this voluntary debt-restructuring — which is something new for all of us and which is a very important step for Greece — is working out and after that we hope that the second tranche for Greece can be approved, of course under the condition that Greece fulfils its obligations.”

Junker was also optimistic, saying: “What has happened in Greece so far over the past two weeks makes me hopeful, because I have the impression that the Greek government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Papademos, takes its tasks very seriously.”

The lower house of the German parliament is due to vote on the Greek bailout deal on Monday.

Several lawmakers from Merkel’s party have said they oppose it, but she is not expected to lose the vote.