Eurozone Leader Says Greece Likely to Get New Aid

Posted October 6th, 2011 at 2:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The chief financial official of the eurozone nations says he thinks Greece’s international creditors will soon approve its bid for another round of financial aid to help it avoid a default on its debts.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday he expects auditors from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union will complete their review of Greece’s austerity measures by October 24 and recommend approval of the assistance.

Greece has been seeking release of an $11-billion segment of its $159-billion bailout from last year, but the creditors have first been demanding proof that Greece is on track to cut its deficit spending.

Juncker said that after the next payout, European leaders will have to decide whether the Athens government can sustain payments on its international debts.

U.S. President Barack Obama said in Washington that European leaders must “act fast” to solve the debt crisis. He said Greece’s financial plight is putting a “severe strain” on the world’s financial system and already having a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

He noted that some of the world’s biggest economies are meeting again in November. Mr. Obama said he hopes that by then European leaders will have a “very clear concrete plan” that is “sufficient” to resolving the world’s concerns about European governmental debt.

Even as the continent’s economy weakens, Europe’s central bank has decided to leave its benchmark interest rate unchanged. But its British counterpart has decided to pump more money into the economy in an effort to stave off a new recession.

The European Central Bank said it considered lowering its key lending rate of 1.5 percent, but instead decided to keep it the same for the third straight month. But the central bank said it would offer new emergency loans to banks across the continent that face possible losses on Greek debt they hold if the Athens government defaults on its international financial obligations.

The Bank of England, in a surprise announcement, said it would add another $116 billion into the British economy in an effort to stimulate the country’s growth. Britain’s economic fortunes have been stymied by the government’s austerity programs and the far-reaching effects of the European debt crisis, even though England is not part of the 17-nation bloc that uses the common euro currency.

In Greece, the government continued its efforts to impose new austerity measures. It submitted a bill to Parliament that calls for the suspension of 30,000 government workers at reduced pay, the eventual elimination of their jobs and other spending cuts.