According to sources, the Greek government is striving for a solution that involves sustainable levels of debt in the long-term, smaller repayment costs and ensures the long-term stability of the income of Greek households.
The same sources noted that a European solution must ensure a long-term framework of stability and not respond by "putting out fires" whenever the crisis flares, noting that this was a mistake that European leaders made in their initial handling of the crisis.
On the other hand, the government is not inclined to underestimate the complexity of finding a solution, noting that the issue was dominating public debate in every EU member-state, the sources said.
They pointed out that the borrowing needs of Italy alone for 2011 amounted to 355 billion euro, which exceeded the total amount of Greece's debt, while Italy's total debt was equal to 25 percent of the total debt of the Eurozone and that of Greece, Portugal and Ireland combined was just 6 percent.
They added that more alternative proposals for an overall solution for the debt crisis in Greece and the Eurozone were now on the table, among them that of selective default. There had been extensive discussion of this at the cabinet meeting and an announcement could be expected from the finance ministry and Greek financial institutions with the day that will precisely define the meaning of this term and what it entails.
The sources said that the issue was brought to the negotiating table by some of Greece's EU partners and not Athens, noting that the agenda of talks was controlled more by the lenders than the borrowers.
The stance of main opposition New Democracy's leader Antonis Samaras on the issue was strongly criticised during the cabinet meeting, with ministers advising the government to focus on ND's response and seek to highlight its dangerous tactics, they said.
Once a solution was achieved on a European level, the government would seek political consensus concerning the final choices that it made, they added. They also noted the reform effort for a rapid and radical reduction of Greece's deficit must continue, regardless of the final European settlement.
Greece's problem was due to a combination of high debt and high deficits and unless the deficit is not reduced, the debt cannot be eradicated, they stressed, adding that a sustainable debt was not just a arithmetic figure but would open new prospects for growth in the country. They noted that the current deficit was 24 billion euro, of which 12.5 billion euro were interest payments and 11.5 billion euro were the deficit.