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South Eastern Europe

Barroso, Rehn on Greece: 'deal in coming days'

Author: Clive Leviev-Sawyer Date: Thu, Apr 29 2010 3 Comments, 2655 Views
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The European Commission is making "solid and rapid progress" with the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Greek authorities to finalise the Greek adjustment programme, European Commission President Jose Barroso said on April 29 2010.

"The Commission expects this work to be finalised in the coming days," he said.

On this basis, the euro area members will take the decision on the activation of the financial support, as decided by the heads of state and government of the euro area on March 25 2010 and specified by the Eurogroup on April 11, Barroso said.

All euro zone member states were finalising the procedures that would allow them to provide financial support to Greece as necessary, he said.

"The euro-area member states, the Commission, the ECB [and the IMF] are determined to guarantee the overall financial stability of the euro area.|

There was no doubt that Greece's needs would be met in time, according to Barroso.

"Debt restructuring in an euro-area member state is not an option and is not going to be part of the joint programme," he said.
"Amongst all the speculation, I would like to remind you that the European Commission has already taken action to put in place a regulatory framework on credit-rating agencies, and will continue to watch closely the behaviour of the financial markets during this crisis," Barroso said.

European Monetary Affairs Commissioner, in an April 29 statement, said: "I am confident that the talks will be concluded in the next days".

The outcome, Rehn said, will be a multi-annual programme that will lead to major fiscal and also structural adjustment.

Funding to Greece through the co-ordinated bilateral loans by the euro-area member states will be conditional to implementing the decisions required to meet the conditions of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms, Rehn said.

"The financial support will give Greece a sufficient breathing space from the pressures of the financial markets to decisively restore the sustainability of its public finances and to put the economy back on a path of sustainable growth," he said.

"I want to underline that this exercise is done not only because of Greece, but for every euro area member state and their citizens to safeguard financial stability in Europe and globally – which is absolutely crucial for our economic recovery, steady growth and employment," Rehn said.

Athens-based daily Kathimerini said on April 29 that sources said that the Greek government had accepted proposals put forward by IMF officials that would lead to further tax rises and public spending cuts and would make it easier for employers in the private sector to hire and fire people.

On April 28, the Voice of America reported that European financial officials say that they were moving as quickly as possible to prevent the debt crisis engulfing Greece and Portugal from growing even worse.

Those words of support came ahead of a scheduled meeting between the heads of the ECB and the IMF with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

On April 27 2010, ratings agency Standard and Poor downgraded Greek bonds to "junk" status, causing stocks worldwide to tumble.

Asian stock markets tumbled in early trading on April 28 following new fears about Greece's debt problems.

Investors were anxiously watching developments in Germany, where Berlin's response to the crisis has met political opposition.

But Germany's ambassador to Greece, Wolfgang Schultheiss, pledged his nation's support. "We have now to concretize [make firm] the measure which have been agreed upon 11 April and we have to send a clear signal that we will not let down Greece, and I think that is the bottom line of everything," he stated. "Germany will help Greece and it will not let it down."

Greece has already asked to access a joint European Union-IMF aid package worth as much as $60 billion.

However, concerns about the stability of Greece , and other financially-troubled European countries, increased after the Standard and Poor's announcement about Greece.

The agency also slashed Portugal's sovereign debt by two notches.

"I think that today we will have a lot of pressure as well because there is this fear of contagion. I think that Greece and Portugal are very small countries," Nicholas Skourias of Pegasus Securities said. "But the crisis could spread to Spain which is a more important player in Europe."

Greece's financial woes have already caused the value of the euro to slide. Investors fear European Union countries  could eventually see significant economic losses if Greece fails to pay back its massive debt.

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    • Anonymous
      Sasha Rating:
      #3 09, 23, Fri, Apr 30 2010

      Don't worry Josh Peter doesn't understand the politics of the world he lives in. For him its all black and white. Greeces problems are a reflection of our wider Balkan social structures where just like in Macedonia if you want to see the Doctor you have slip a little bit of extra money in a concealed envelope to get attention. This is not new and it will also not disappear unless a radical, structural change takes place as they are attempting to do in Greece. I hope for Greece's sake the reforms take root into the foundations of their society. [...]

      Read the full comment Ireland which has for decades had a British orientated economy is in many ways a victim of the global subprime crisis whereby major banks in the USA were lending money they actually didn't have in the first place. But Greece on the other hand just like the rest of the Balkans is a victim of both the global crisis and of its own making. As for Peter he only understands one financial system and thats social welfare!

    • Anonymous
      Josh Rating:
      #2 16, 48, Thu, Apr 29 2010

      Pete, How can you possibly say that Ireland has followed a socialist path.Complete rubbish! Ireland has never had a Socialist government, ever!

    • Anonymous
      Pete Rating:
      #1 16, 35, Thu, Apr 29 2010

      Greece, after that Portugal, after that Ireland, after that... Al this are results of the socialist policy. So, I think it is time for Mr Obama to look at Europe and not repeat the same mistake in the USA.

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