Debt-laden Greece did not ask for financial aid from its European partners. And, in its hour of need, the crisis-hit country did not get any. Instead, EU leaders issued a vague pledge of support to prevent any risk of Greece going under and taking the euro currency with it. In return, Athens is ready to take extra steps to prevent any debt default.
“I think that political will is very clear.” said Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. “Let us allow for the instrumentation to be something as a theoretical discussion because we hope we will not be there because we are ready to take all the measures as well as Europe in order to be credible and to have a credible exit out of this crisis.”
As leaders meeting in Brussels stressed Greece’s need to reduce its budget gap by 4 per cent this year, questions are being asked about other euro zone states with big deficits like Spain and Portugal.
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates had reassuring words about his country’s financial health, saying the speculation does not stand up to the facts.
“The risk of Portugal failing to keep it commitments in terms of debt is almost zero,” he said.
As for the markets, the pledge of solidarity from Greece’s fellow EU members drove US and European stocks higher. But the euro fell against the dollar, hurt by the scant details given on the rescue plan.