EU finance ministers meet in Athens

Updated: 2014-04-01 16:52


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EU finance ministers meet in Athens

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble (C) speaks with his Spanish counterpart Luis de Guindos (R) and European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn during an European Union Finance Ministers informal meeting in Athens April 1, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - Finance ministers from the European countries that use the euro currency were meeting in Athens Tuesday, with discussions to include how to pay out delayed bailout installments to Greece and how to ease Portugal out of its rescue program.

Both financially stricken countries have received multi-billion-euro bailouts from other European countries and the International Monetary Fund and have implemented a series of fiscal reforms in return, with their economies under strict supervision by international debt inspectors.

Security for the meeting was tight, with protests banned in much of central Athens. Unions and political youth groups plan demonstrations just outside the exclusion zone Tuesday evening.

The eurogroup meeting is to be followed by a broader gathering of all European Union finance ministers later in the day and on Wednesday, with talks to center on the social impact of the crisis, the EU's growth and financial stability, and banking union among other topics.

Greece, which has suffered the deepest and most prolonged financial crisis of the 18-member eurozone, hopes for a positive assessment from the eurogroup on progress made in reforms. A review by the debt inspectors from the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission, collectively known as the troika, ended last month and the country hopes for the disbursement of a long-delayed bailout installment.

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