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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-03-06

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Berlin - Papandreou - Merkel meeting

  • [01] Berlin - Papandreou - Merkel meeting

    BERLIN (ANA-MPA) ‚ Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was received here on Friday afternoon by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a highly anticipated meeting focusing on the latest developments in Greece‚s bid to dramatically improve its finances and the latter‚s effects on the all-important eurozone ‚ an issue that has garnered intense scrutiny over the recent period.

    According to reports, during the meeting ‚ held in a very positive political climate ‚ Papandreou referred to the possibility of Greece‚s seeking recourse to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it attempts to slash its double-digit budget deficit in tandem with borrowing at reasonable rates in order to refinance a close to 300 billion euros worth of public debt.

    Merkel, who cited Thursday‚s oversubscribed and successful five-billion-euro 10-year bond sale by Athens, reportedly did not comment on such a prospect, although she emphasized that markets expressed their confidence in Greece and predicted an even more positive outlook for the country‚s credit-worthiness once structural changes are implemented.

    Turning to the issue of money market speculators, which generated significance concern and annoyance to Greek officials during the past month or so, Merkel said both countries will bring the issue to the EU Commission‚s agenda, whereas Berlin is ready to broach the issue at a G-20 summit as well. Furthermore, both sides reiterated that Athens has not requested any form of bailout, contrary to widespread press speculation.

    Merkel flatly denounced speculation that Greece was in danger of defaulting on its sovereign debt, while on his part, Papandreou repeated that Greece wants political solidarity from its EU and eurozone partners.

    Asked by reporters, Papandreou and Merkel merely dismissed a handful of mostly populist quips in the German press recommending that Greece should sell-off some of its islands in order to bolster the state treasury.


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