NEWS

Greece hopes for refuge in crisis

The uncertainty on international stock markets is likely to act as an incentive for the eurozone to approve measures to bolster the single currency and to speed up the process of providing support for Greece, the government in Athens believes.

Sources told Kathimerini Tuesday that the government is hopeful the concern caused by the plunging indices over the past few days will concentrate the minds of eurozone leaders. Greece anticipates this will lead to an increase in the scope and size of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and will convince politicians that Eurobonds will soon have to be issued.

Athens, which is expecting to receive an 8-billion-euro loan installment, hopes that next month eurozone leaders will also be convinced to get fully behind the latest support package for Greece, worth 109 billion euros.

?I think that a balance will be found over the next few weeks,? said Health Minister Andreas Loverdos. ?These balances will secure the appropriate refuge for Greece.?

An indication that the government feels the issuing of Eurobonds could soon become a reality came with a statement from its deputy spokesman Angelos Tsolkas. The recently appointed official attacked New Democracy for suggesting this week that it had backed the idea of a common note for some time. ?The prime minister has been fighting for this for two years,? said Tsolkas, who accused the conservatives of playing party political games.

A Reuters survey suggests new rules allowing the EFSF to buy bonds on the secondary market and give precautionary credit lines to countries before they are shut out of credit markets are likely to be passed by mid-October.

Governments in Germany, Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and Slovakia say they are confident their parliaments will approve the July 21 agreement by eurozone leaders when they resume business in the coming weeks.

However, a German MP who leads the parliamentary group of the Free Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel?s coalition allies, suggested yesterday that the lower house of the country?s parliament could ask for amendments to the package. ?Everything is not perfect,? said Rainer Bruederle. ?Germany?s budget cannot simply be turned into a self-service shop for other countries while the core problems are not tackled sufficiently.?