Greece Vows to Meet Its Debt Obligations

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 5:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Greece has vowed to meet its international bailout debt obligations and remain in the 17-nation bloc that uses the common euro currency.

In a 25-minute telephone call late Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Greece would continue with its austerity budgeting plan in order to secure more international assistance and trim its deficit.

After the conference call, Greek government spokesman Elias Mossialos said all three leaders agreed that Greece would remain in the eurozone.

In Germany, Chancellor Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said she and President Sarkozy emphasized to Mr. Papandreou that Greece must adhere to its economic reforms, including the sale of numerous state-owned properties to raise money to help cut its deficit. He said Greece must meet its fiscal targets in order to continue to receive more international aid to help finance its government operations.

The call came ahead of a Friday meeting in Poland by finance ministers from the 17 eurozone member states to address the debt crisis that began with Greece, Portugal and Ireland, and now threatens to spread to Italy and Spain. It also underscores deepening worries about the region's financial troubles.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will attend the Friday talks amid rising fears that the crisis might spread overseas.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told the European Parliament Wednesday the commission will propose creating “eurobonds” as a way for eurozone governments to jointly guarantee their debts.

Heavily indebted Greece was the first country in the European Union to secure an international bailout, partly financed by stronger European economies like Germany and France.

But some analysts say they fear that the international aid, combined with the Greek austerity measures, will not be enough to pull Athens out of the crisis and avoid a default. As a result, two French banks that are owed large amounts of Greek debt had their credit ratings downgraded Wednesday by the international rating agency, Moody's.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned in Washington that the global economy had “entered a new danger zone” because of the European debt crisis. He sharply faulted the 17 eurozone nations for using a common currency while allowing each nation to set its own spending and taxation policies.