14th Dec 2018

Van Rompuy: Eurozone will bail out Greece if needed

  • Van Rompuy (l) looked cold as he read out the short statement in several languages (Photo:

The European Union has formally stated what has been discussed in private for weeks: a bailout for Greece will be available if needed.

The announcement is designed to calm market jitters that have recently wreaked havoc on stocks and bonds in a number of weaker peripheral eurozone members.

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The EU's new permanent president Herman Van Rompuy made the statement on the steps of the Bibliotheque Solvay, and old library in a central Brussels park where EU leaders are meeting for an informal summit on economic issues on Thursday (11 February).

"Euro area member states will take determined and co-ordinated action if needed to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole," he said.

The former Belgian politician also stressed that no aid would be immediately forthcoming, however. "The Greek government has not requested any financial support," he said.

Flanked by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Van Rompuy said the EU fully supported the efforts of the Greek government in implementing a long list of austerity measures outlined in a plan last month.

"We call on the Greek government to implement all these measures in a rigorous and determined way," said Mr Van Rompuy. Athens intends to reduce its budget deficit by four percent this year after it reached 12.7 of GDP in 2009.

The commission is set to closely monitor Greece's implementation of the tough measures that led to strikes on Wednesday around the country.

The European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund will also play a role in the tough surveillance.

"The commission will closely monitor the Greek implementation in liaison with the ECB, and will propose necessary additional measures, drawing on the expertise of the IMF," said Mr Van Rompuy.

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