Eurozone Rose to the Challenge for Solidarity - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 26/Mar/2010

Brussels (ANA-MPA) -- Euro-area countries on Thursday evening finalised a plan to establish a financial assistance mechanism available to Greece if the country requires it amid an ongoing debt crisis, following a closely watched meeting hours earlier by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to iron out a compromise proposal.

"Today, we reached a decision that is very satisfactory for Greece. The Greece of the eurozone is safe. Europe also took a major step forward. Today, we not only took decisions for Greece, but also for Europe; the EU came face-to-face with a major challenge and rose up to this challenge," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said after a summit of euro-area members' heads of state and government.

"Europe, together with Greece, emerges stronger from this crisis," he said.

According to a general outline of the plan, eurozone leaders envision a comprehensive package of economic aid to Greece, the largest part of which would be covered through voluntary bilateral loans from member-states. Additionally, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) role is eyed as a way to tackle the Greek debt crisis, with Papandreou mentioning a "minority participation" by the IMF.

The package will be activated on the basis of specific conditions, and only as a last resort, a spokesman for Sarkozy said before the plan was finalised.

In concluding, Papandreou said his government was determined to tackle Greece 's serious fiscal problem.

 Gov't spokesman

 "It is positive that there is a plan that we consider as fully covering us," government spokesman George Petalotis said from Brussels.

"We consider the creation of a mechanism as a message of stability, one that has repercussions for the Greek economy," he said, adding that the IMF involvement was expected in such a mechanism.





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