PM says Greece, EU face ‘most crucial week’

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said this is a ?most crucial week? for Greece and the European Union, adding that coming developments could ?determine the fate of the eurozone.?

Papandreou was speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias. The two men were set to discuss the October 23 summit of European leaders in Brussels.

The EU is under huge pressure to present a plan that will decisively addresses the sovereign debt crisis by reducing Greece’s debt, stopping contagion and protecting Europe’s banks.

?Greece is the first [EU member state] to be hit by this crisis and, notwithstanding its own difficulties and shortcomings, if there is no comprehensive and final solution on a European level, the uncertainty in the broader region of Europe and the eurozone will continue,? Papandreou said.

The socialist prime minister called upon Greece’s party leaders to throw their weight behind his efforts so that the government can negotiate the best possible deal for the country.

Papandreou, who is reportedly planning to invite opposition party leaders for talks with Papoulias later this week, on Sunday appealed for cross-party consensus. ?It?s only by working together that the country’s political forces can reverse the notion that Greece is a lost cause,? he told Proto Thema newspaper.

The government must win Thursday?s vote in Parliament on new measures — chiefly wage and pension cuts and an overhaul of the civil service — to secure the release from foreign creditors of an 8-billion-euro tranche of rescue funding on which the country?s solvency depends.

The matter must be resolved before Sunday when eurozone finance ministers are to meet in Brussels to discuss Greece?s situation.

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