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Re: B2* - Greek fury at EU partners over 'psychology of looming collapse'

Released on 2001-03-13 18:00 GMT

Email-ID 1108169
Date 2010-02-14 11:12:41
Papandreu is of course correct. Greece really is "the lab animal" in the
tussle between the EU and the markets. The EU is using the Greek example
to send two messages: 1. First is to the rest of the Club Med: there may
be an implicit bailout at the end of teh rainbow, but it is one bloody
rainbow that!, and 2) To the markets that the EU will bail out, so dont
dump the bonds.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Antonia Colibasanu"
To: "alerts"
Sent: Sunday, February 14, 2010 2:33:51 AM GMT -06:00 US/Canada Central
Subject: B2* - Greek fury at EU partners over 'psychology of looming

*this is reported by FT online 8 hours ago but was in print edition of
yesterday. so no rep :(

Greek fury at EU partners over 'psychology of looming collapse'

By Kerin Hope in Athens, Quentin Peel in Berlin and Tony,Barber in

Published: February 13 2010 02:00 | Last updated: February 13 2010 02:00

Greece yesterday unleashed a fierce attack on its European Union partners,
accusing them of creating a "psychology of looming collapse" a day after
they had pledged support for the country's crisis-hit government.

George Papandreou, Greek prime minister, said that, in the eurozone's
first big test, Greece had become "a laboratory animal in the battle
between Europe and the markets".

In a televised address to his cabinet, he criticised other EU members for
sending "mixed messages about our country . . . that have created a
psychology of looming collapse which could be self-fulfilling".

Mr Papandreou blamed the European Commission for failing to crack down on
the previous conservative government's "criminal record" in falsifying
statistics. "This has undermined the responsibility of the European
institutions with international markets," he said.

His outburst is likely to infuriate the very leaders whose help Mr
Papandreou needs. It came as it emerged there would be no more talk of
financial assistance until Athens had persuaded the EU that it had a
sustainable austerity programme in place.

Germany is insisting Athens bears initial responsibility for restoring
confidence in Greece. Angela Merkel, German chancellor, resisted French
efforts to come up with an explicit bail-out package at Thursday's summit
of EU leaders in Brussels.

Officials in Paris said Ms Merkel's insistence on additional efforts by
Greece to cut its budget deficit came close to thwarting agreement at the
summit. According to sources in Athens, she called for a rise in Greek
value-added tax of 1 percentage point, in addition to extra spending cuts.
Herman Van Rompuy, EU president, drafted a compromise before the summit

Ms Merkel's tough stance has overwhelming political and popular support in

Members of both government and opposition parties in the Bundestag said
there would be no parliamentary support for a Greek rescue package without
clear evidence of drastic cuts in spending. Eurozone finance ministers are
due to meet on Monday, but no detailed rescue plan will be on their

Additional reporting by Ben Hall in Paris

Eurozone economy, Page 5 Editorial Comment, Page 10 Man in the News, Page
11 Lex, Page 24

Marko Papic wrote:

EU needs to step up anti-speculation moves: Greek PM
12 February 2010, 15:07 CET
(ATHENS) - The European Union needs to become a more active and better
coordinated force on international markets, the Greek prime minister
said on Friday, as his country struggles to restore its global
financial standing.

"Today ... the credibility of Europe and its willingness to stand up
to international markets are at stake," George Papandreou said a day
after the European Union undertook to stand by Greece as it confronts
a debt and public deficit crisis.

An EU summit declaration on Thursday contained no concrete measures to
help Greece, but Papandreou said after the meeting that it nonetheless
amounted to a clear warning to speculators.

The cost of borrowing for Greece on bond markets has risen sharply of
late in response to the country's debt burden and on fears that its
proposed measures might not be enough to strengthen public finances.

Some commentators, however, have said the problems Greece has faced in
raising funds are due to speculative attacks in the market.

"My feeling is that Europe has still not understood its capacity to
draft rules and policies to confront international markets,"
Papandreou told a cabinet meeting Friday.

He said it was unfortunate that while the EU had thrown its "political
support" behind Greece's effort to shore up its public finances, "the
struggle against the impressions and psychology of the markets lacks
punch, to say the least."

He said: "Greece is neither an economic nor a political superpower and
cannot lead such a campaign by itself."

He said: "There is a lack of coordination among the different
components of the (European Union executive) commission, the European
Union and the European Central Bank. There are even differences among

Greece has caused consternation in the 16-nation eurozone with a
public deficit that comes to 12.7 percent of gross domestic product
and a debt that amounts to 113 percent of output.

Both figures are far in excess of eurozone regulations and have led to
an erosion of Greek credibility on financial markets.

Moody's Investors Service has estimated that Greece must allocate 15.1
percent of its revenues to interest payments, about twice the ratio
for two other debt-burdened eurozone members, Spain and Portugal.

The comparable figures are 7.0 percent for Spain and 7.1 percent for
Portugal, according to Moody's.

Text and Picture Copyright 2010 AFP.

Mike Jeffers
Austin, Texas
Tel: 1-512-744-4077
Mobile: 1-512-934-0636


Marko Papic

Geopol Analyst - Eurasia
700 Lavaca Street, Suite 900
Austin, TX 78701 - U.S.A
TEL: + 1-512-744-4094
FAX: + 1-512-744-4334