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Greek leaders meet: Europe shrugs

In or out, Europe is now prepared for any eventuality.
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Greek Prime Minister Papademos and leaders of Greece's main political parties before their meeting today in Athens. (ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Tick-tock, tick-tock … the clock on the Greek crisis is running down for real. As I write, leaders of Greece's three main political parties are meeting with Prime Minister Lucas Papademos to agree on the terms of a harsh budget that will allow the country to qualify for its next bail-out from the EU.

The meeting has been scheduled and postponed often in the last four or five days. As I blogged on Friday, last autumn this would have had the markets in a tizzy. Now, they shrug. So do leading eurocrats in Brussels.

"It’s not the end of the world if someone leaves the euro zone," Neelie Kroes, the European Commission vice-president, told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. "It’s always said, if you let one nation go, or ask one to leave, the entire structure will collapse. But that is just not true."

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Greek bail-out: where's the panic?

A deal has been expected for a couple of weeks, why is every one so blase about the delay?

The terms of the Greek bail-out package were supposed to be agreed with its private bond-holders two weeks ago, then last Friday, then definitely before last Monday's EU leaders' summit in Brussels and then again by today.

Nothing is happening … and it's not clear when there will be agreement. The EU's finance ministers were scheduled to meet Monday in Brussels to discuss details of the EU's 130 billion euro rescue package for the country. But that package is conditional on the country's private creditors agreeing to take a substantial loss on the bonds they hold.

Six months ago this would have triggered panic in the markets. Today the FTSE 100 closed at a seven month high, up 1.8 percent on the day. The Paris CAC and Frankfurt Dax posted similar gains.

What gives?

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