NEWS

EU chief hails vote as ‘good news’

BRUSSELS — European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso hailed the Greek parliament?s confidence vote in Prime Minister George Papandreou?s government as ?good news for Greece and for the European Union.?

?Tonight?s vote in the Greek Parliament removes an element of uncertainty from an already very difficult situation. That is good news for Greece and for the European Union as a whole,? Barroso said in a statement issued just minutes after the early Wednesday vote.

He exhorted Papandreou and his government to ?focus all their efforts on building support in Parliament for the ambitious series of fiscal measures and privatizations agreed with the troika? (the IMF, Commission and European Central Bank).

?The approval of these measures next week will not only enable a rapid disbursement of the next tranche of financial assistance for Greece; it will also mark a big step in Greece?s journey back towards sustainable public finances and a return to growth,? Barroso said.

The parliamentary vote of confidence was an indispensable prelude to the adoption of an austerity plan that is a condition for the bailout of Greece?s economy. [AFP]