For­eign pres­sure on Greece in­ten­si­fies

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

For­eign pres­sure grew yes­ter­day for Greece to push ahead with mea­sures aimed at get­ting its debt-rid­den econ­omy back on track, with Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent Barack Obama stress­ing that a Greek de­fault could have dis­as­trous im­pli­ca­tions on the US econ­omy.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence in Wash­ing­ton with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel, Obama called on Ger­many and other Euro­pean coun­tries to work to­gether to help Greece sta­bi­lize its econ­omy, not­ing that US eco­nomic growth de­pended on a so­lu­tion to the Greek cri­sis. “We think it would be dis­as­trous for us to see an un­con­trolled spi­ral and de­fault in Europe be­cause that could trig­ger a whole range of other events,” he said.

His com­ments came as of­fi­cials in Europe re­it­er­ated calls for Greek politi­cians to reach a po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus on a new raft of aus­ter­ity mea­sures. In Paris, French Prime Min­is­ter Fran­cois Fil­lon urged vis­it­ing An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras, the leader of Greece’s main op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy party, to “sup­port the new struc­tural plan be­ing ne­go­ti­ated by the Greek gov­ern­ment” and em­pha­sized “the need for Greek po­lit­i­cal forces to show re­spon­si­bil­ity at this cru­cial time.” Sa­ma­ras has re­sisted over­tures from the Greek gov­ern­ment for con­sen­sus, propos­ing in­stead his own al­ter­na­tive fis­cal pro­gram fea­tur­ing tax cuts rather than hikes.

On Mon­day, the chair­man of the Eurogroup, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that Athens needed to work harder on se­cur­ing na­tional con­sen­sus. “You can’t re­ally ex­pect other peo­ple to help, other peo­ple to show sol­i­dar­ity if you can’t sort your­selves out in­ter­nally. This isn’t a mat­ter of party pol­i­tics. It is about Greece,” he said. He added that he had re­ceived “many let­ters from Greece, many of which con­tain threats.”

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