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