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News Archive

EU presidency wants Greek aid decision at summit

23. March 2010. | 09:36

Source: EUbusiness.com

The Spanish presidency of the European Union said on Monday it would push the bloc to agree on financial aid for Greece at a summit this week, despite reservations from EU powerhouse Germany.

The Spanish presidency of the European Union said on Monday it would push the bloc to agree on financial aid for Greece at a summit this week, despite reservations from EU powerhouse Germany.

"The Spanish presidency will work towards that," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told reporters before a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels.

"It is an important moment for the future of the EU and the euro," he said ahead of the two-day summit which starts Thursday.

"We will make every effort to give this trust, this solidarity that I think (Greece) deserves thanks to the measures that the government of (George) Papandreou has already taken," Moratinos said.

Greek Prime Minister Papandreou has urged EU leaders to agree on financial help for his heavily indebted country during the summit and warned that his government might be forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund instead.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso urged EU leaders on Friday to approve soon the creation of a financial aid mechanism for Greece to use if necessary, warning: "We cannot prolong any further the current situation."

He stepped up that effort in new comments on Monday, telling German daily Handelsblatt that "we need a decision at this summit so that we know how we are going to manage (the Greek crisis).

"Otherwise, deep uncertainty threatens to drag on for some time.

"We can't keep going this way, we risk endangering the stability of the eurozone and feeding speculation (on markets)."

Merkel said on Sunday that "raising false expectations" ahead of Thursday and Friday's gathering of EU leaders in Brussels would cause "turbulence" on markets.

The German government's reluctance to approve any aid to Greece reflects widespread unease among taxpayers, with a Financial Times poll showing on Monday that 61 percent of Germans oppose the idea of a bailout.

Greece, buried under a debt of 300 billion euros, has approved austerity measures to slash a runaway public deficit that is close to 13 percent of national output -- more than four times the limit allowed by the eurozone.


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22. March - 28. March 2010.