Europe

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 07:15

Greece Must Do More By Wed To Secure Aid, Says EU's Rehn


BRUSSELS (MNI) - The European Commission on Monday welcomed Sunday's vote in the Greek parliament approving the policies asked of Greece in return for a second bailout, but warned that the government still needed to do more before Wednesday to secure the aid.

"Yesterday's vote in the Greek parliament is a crucial step forward towards adoption of the second program," said EU Economics and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn. The commissioner then said that he was "confident" that the other conditions, including measures to cut Athens' budget deficit by a further E325 million would be completed before Eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels on Wednesday.

The commissioner acknowledged the recent tensions "both within Greece and within its partners" but said that the program of budget cuts and structural reforms would be supported by "unparalleled financial assistance from Greece's partners, which is a concrete expression of their continued solidarity and genuine concern."

Greece's Eurozone partners have grown increasingly frustrated with the country's failure to hit agreed targets and implement promised reforms and last week said they would consider a German-French proposal to pay off Greece's international bondholders but withhold some aid to maintain pressure on the government.

As many as 10 of the Eurozone's 17 governments are understood to be reluctant to approve the second assistance package for Greece with some even calling for a coordinated default to be considered.

A disorderly default would have "devastating" consequences for Greece and cause dangerous spillover effects in the rest of the Eurozone, Rehn told journalists.

--Brussels newsroom: +324-9522-8374; pkoh@marketnews.com

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