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Greece Crisis Moves Backed/Doubted

  • March 6th, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

barroso-strasbourg-19-june-07.jpgAs Greek workers protested against austerity moves and government leaders conferred with sceptical German counterparts, the European Commission gave guarded support to the Athens prescription.

WELCOME FROM BRUSSELS

The  Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, said (3.3.10) at Brussels a review of cost cutting and new revenue measures indicated Greece was “taking all necessary measures … to ensure that the 4% of GDP deficit reduction target for 2010 will be met.”

“This is in the interest of the Greek people, who will benefit from sounder public finances, better growth prospects and job opportunities”, he said.

“It is as well important for the overall stability of the Euro area…

“The Commission considers that correcting imbalances and restoring competitiveness is essential to put Greece back on a sustain able path.”

PLENTY OF DOUBTS

Other imbalances in Greek life were showing up, as union members took to the streets, objecting to cuts in government salaries, in some cases running to more than 20% reductions in take-home pay.

greek-protestresize.jpgThe Greek premier George Papandreou has started a tour, to Germany, France and the United States, promoting efforts to get credit relief, an easing of interest rates charged, as the country’s public borrowings come due.

This has led to taunts in the German press that some uninhabited Greek Islands could go up for sale.

It is possibly even a realistic prospect in the minds of Winter-bound Germans thinking ahead towards their annual holiday invasion down that way, come August.

Behind it is concern over failures by successive Greek governments to balance the accounts, and claims of debt swapping: leasing-out debt to places outside the country to keep it off the national  books.

Reference

EC, “Statement of the Commission o n the situation in Greece”, Brussels, 3.3.10. SPEECH/10/61

Harry Papachristou and Rene Wagner, Athens and Berlin, Reuters, 5.3.10.

Pictures  Barroso, Greek protests

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