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Sunday 2 April 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/Press Association Images The moon rises behind the 19th century statue of the ancient goddess Athena as a Greek flag billows at the Athens Academy.
# Eurozone
Eurozone leaders set for key summit as France and Germany agree common position
But neither country will tell us what that position is ahead of the summit in Brussels this afternoon.

EUROZONE LEADERS WILL hold make or break talks in Brussels today aimed at fleshing out the details of a second bailout for Greece in a bid to stave off the possibility of the debt crisis spreading to other countries in the region.

The Taoiseach is among those travelling to Brussels today for the summit of 17 Eurozone leaders having told the Dáil yesterday that he did not expect a substantial deal on how best to tackle the crisis to be agreed.

However, BBC News reports that the Eurozone’s two biggest players, France and Germany, have agreed a common position on the crisis although the details of that position have not yet been released.

During seven hours of talks, European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet was brought into discussions between Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy.

Merkel’s Germany has been pushing for senior holders of Greek debt to take losses as part of any further rescue deal for Athens.

However, Sarkozy’s France and the ECB have opposed such a move fearing that it could spark an EU-wide banking crisis and push Spain and possibly Italy into the kind of trouble which Greece, Ireland and Portugal find themselves in where they require international assistance.

The Financial Times this morning carries some details of what a Greek rescue plan might look like.

The paper suggests it will be involve €71 billion in bailout funds from global lenders and a €50 billion tax on Eurozone banks from which the proceeds would be used to buy back 20 per cent of Greece’s €350 billion in outstanding debt.

A bond exchange programme is also suggested. Under this, private owners of Greek debt would be encouraged to swap their holdings for new 30-year bonds, which would help reduce Greek debt by around €90 billion.

The IMF, whose head Christine Lagarde will also attend today’s talks, has called for more money to be invested in the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) – the region’s €440 billion bailout fund – to allow it to buy government bonds of weak states on the secondary market, according to RTÉ.

The president of the European Commission (EC) Jose Manuel Barroso yesterday warned that a failure to agree a deal would send shock waves around the global economy, the FT reports.

US president Barack Obama has also stressed the importance of tackling the crisis to prevent another global economic downturn.

Officials will arrive for the meeting in the Belgian capital at 12pm (11am Irish Time) with discussions due to conclude around 3.45pm (2.45pm Irish Time) after which a press conference by the presidents of the European Council and the EC will take place and details should emerge.

Enda Kenny arriving in Brussels this morning:

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