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Greek FinMin says July 21 eurozone bailout agreement of 'vital importance,' not in doubt
ATHENS, Greece (AP) ' The eurozone's hard-won deal overhauling its rescue fund and extending Greece a euro109 billion bailout is not in doubt, Greece's finance minister insisted Friday.
Evangelos Venizelos' comments come as five countries are demanding collateral in exchange for their contributions. The Netherlands, Slovenia, Austria and Slovakia said Thursday they wanted hundreds of millions of euros in collateral like Finland, which struck a deal with the Greek government earlier in the week to receive cash as security for their part of the bailout.
Although the amount of cash being demanded by the five would probably not be large enough to sink the deal, it could drive up the overall cost of the bailout, which was part of a July 21 eurozone agreement that gave the 17-country eurozone new powers designed to help a country before it is in full crisis.
The demands have also laid bare the tensions over how to deal with Europe's debt crisis, which has already seen Greece, Ireland and Portugal bailed out.
The July 21 deal "is not in doubt, because it is of vital importance to the eurozone," Venizelos told Skai radio, adding that the agreement was not just about his country.
"It is a decision that concerns Greece as part of a much more general problem," he said.
Venizelos stressed the collateral deal with Finland depended on approval by other eurozone members and that the Finns had wanted to make it public. Athens, he said, would have preferred to wait until after the issue had been discussed by the eurozone members before announcing it.
The minister, who assumed his position in late June following a political crisis in Greece, stressed the need for clear messages from the eurozone, saying there were political and financial "side effect(s) each time the eurozone doesn't send clear messages."