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Greece, Cyprus to top agenda at eurozone meeting

Spain's Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, left, speaks with Portugal's Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar during a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. European Union finance ministers on Wednesday sought to agree on the creation of a single supervisor for banks across the 27-country bloc after France and Germany apparently patched up their differences over the issue. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) -- Finance ministers from the 17 EU countries that use the euro currency are meeting in Brussels to consider whether to release the latest batch of bailout money for Greece.

The officials will evaluate the effectiveness of a Greek debt buy-back program that is meant to reduce the country's debt over the long term.

In addition, the ministers will discuss the progress made in defining the terms of a bailout program for Cyprus.

Later Thursday, EU heads of state and government will gather in Brussels for a summit devoted to building a closer financial and political union, meant to avoid future financial crises.

Finance ministers from the 27 EU countries took an important step in that direction early Thursday morning when they agreed to create a single supervisor for their banks.