EU officials' clarifications on Juncker-presided meeting

A written statement by the Eurogroup on Saturday stated that Friday's meeting in Luxembourg chaired by Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker was held at the initiative of Juncker himself and French finance minister Christine Lagarde.
In the statement, the Eurogroup notes that in a follow-up to the annual meeting in Washington last April, French finance minister Christine Lagarde, whose country currently holds the G20 presidency, and Luxembourg prime minister and Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker, decided to call an informal meeting of the finance ministers of the eurozone countries participating in the G20 in order to discuss matters concerning the G20, which took place on the afternoon of March 6 (Friday) in Luxembourg.

During the G20 meeting in Washington, Greece had been the subject of several discussions and, for that reason, Luxembourg prime minister Juncker decided to also invite Greece's finance minister George Papaconstantinou to Friday's meeting in order to exchange views with the other ministers in attendance on the current situation.
In a separate statement on Saturday, Amadeu Altafaj, a spokesman for the EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn, said that Friday's meeting was not a "crisis meeting on Greece".

He said that Papaconstantinou outlined the situation in Greece, the ongoing efforts being made by the government for implementation of the economic adjustment program, and all the recent measures taken by Athens.

Altafaj once again reiterated that restructuring of the Greek debt "is not an alternative on the table", given that neither the Greek government nor the European Commission are examining such a prospect, "the results of which would be extremely negative for Greece and the eurozone in its entirety".

"Press reports founded on anonymous sources about a possible withdrawal by Greece from the euro are, simply, lies and ill-intentioned," Altafaj stressed, in reference to a controversial article appearing in the German magazine Der Spiegel that Greece was contemplating an exit from the euro currency and return to the drachma that drew sparks and denials from the Greek government and EU officials.

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