Greece: Our problems are euro zone issue

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Greece: Our problems are euro zone issue

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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has told a financial conference in Athens his country’s fiscal troubles are part of a wider euro zone problem, with Spain and Portugal next in line.

He also accused financial speculators of taking advantage of Greece’s current economic weakness:

Papandreou said: “Greece – with its own responsibility and, to be frank, the responsibility of the previous government – finds itself at the centre of an unprecedented speculative attack that doesn’t concern only us.”

The financial conference where Papandreou spoke also featured Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

He said smaller European countries are suffering because of events elsewhere.

“If Europe is to work as a cohesive unit, there has to be a certain degree of solidarity, a certain macro-economic framework that helps those countries – especially small countries – that suffer because of a macroeconomic event, especially one arising outside the borders. There is no way that Greece can solve Germany’s problems. If Germany is weak so that there are fewer tourists coming from Germany, Greece will suffer and there’s nothing Greece can do about that,” Stiglitz said.

Papandreou suggested the creation of a joint euro bond was one possible way out of the crisis.

At the moment the Greek government is having to pay much more to borrow money than countries such as Germany.