Business

EU leaders pledge to do what is needed to help Greece

  • 23 June 2011
  • From the section Business
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European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso
Jose Manuel Barroso sad Europe was prepared to do what was necessary

European Union leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to help Greece out of its current debt woes and maintain EU financial stability.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said there was "a real will of the member states to do what is necessary".

His comments came at the end of the first day of an EU summit in Brussels.

The Greek parliament has to pass fresh austerity measures next week before the country can gain vital bail-out funds.

Greece's government is proposing additional spending cuts worth 28bn euros (£25bn) over five years.

If these are passed then Greece will get its next 12bn-euro instalment from the current 110bn euro bail-out package from fellow eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.

Without this money Greece will default on its next loan payments due in mid-July.

However, many economists think it will be difficult for Greece to avoid default at some time in the future.

No plan B

Also speaking at the end of the first day in Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the EU was moving to make it easier for Greece to access European Union development funds to help boost its economy.

Earlier on Thursday, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker urged Athens to meet its commitments under the bail-out programme.

"All conditions must be met," said Mr Juncker, who also chairs the groups of eurozone finance ministers. "You can't let anyone believe there is a Plan B. If Greece does what it has to do, we will do what we have to do."

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said his government was committed to pushing the austerity plans - which are deeply unpopular with the Greek people - through parliament next week.

"Greece is committed, strongly committed, to continue a very important programme for major changes, radical changes, to make our economy viable," he said.