NEWS

Papandreou calls Europeans as stock markets fall

Prime Minister George Papandreou continues his telephone conversations with European leaders on Monday as the Athens Stock Exchange (ATHEX) was among the bourses feeling the adverse effects due to the market uncertainty surrounding the euro.

Papandreou spoke to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday and followed this up with a call to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday morning.

The Greek premier is due to speak to Eurogroup head Jean-Claude Juncker later in the day.

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a statement reaffirming their support for the July 21 agreement, which established a new support package for Greece, and which prepared the ground for the strengthening of the EFSF crisis fund.

Also on Sunday, the European Central Bank said that it would buy Italian bonds in a bid to stop damaging market speculation about the euro.

However, stock markets around the world plunged on Monday. ATHEX?s general prine index had fallen 4.5 percent by 2 p.m.

European stock markets opened sharply lower then enjoyed strong gains before heading back into the red in midday trade while Asian equities closed lower after big losses.