By Matthias Sobolewski
BERLIN, Feb 9 (Reuters) – European governments have agreed in principle to help heavily indebted Greece, a senior German coalition source said on Tuesday, in what would be the first rescue of a euro zone member in the currency’s 11-year history.
“The decision on help for Greece has been taken in principle within the euro zone,” said a source in the German coalition government who has knowledge of the negotiations.
Various options were under consideration and no final decision had been taken but the most likely possibility was to offer “bilateral help,” the source said.
The comments were the strongest signal so far that European Union economic heavyweight Germany may be ready to step in to stave off a crisis of confidence in the 16-nation currency bloc that has roiled markets around the globe.
German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm called reports that a decision had already in effect been taken “unfounded,” but the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland also said Germany was preparing an aid package for Greece.