EU pledges support for Greece as markets plunge

The European Union’s executive commission has vowed continuing financial support for Greece as markets punish the bailed-out country’s stocks and bonds.

Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said in a statement Thursday there should be “no doubt that Europe will continue to assist Greece in whatever way is necessary” so the government can keep financing itself.

“Greece has made immense progress in creating a basis for a sustainable growth model, based on sound public finances, a more competitive economy and a robust, effectively supervised financial sector,” Katainen said.

Greek stocks and bonds have been plunging over fears about the country’s battered economy, the chance of new elections, and as part of a general pullback in recent days from riskier investments worldwide.

Greece needed 240 billion euros in bailout loans from other countries that use the euro and the International Monetary Fund. It had earlier appeared on the way to recovery and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had expressed hope to leave the bailout program early.

“This unprecedented program of reforms and the necessary large fiscal adjustment have entailed very difficult choices. The Commission and the euro area as a whole have stood by Greece throughout this process. While there is a clear need to maintain the momentum of reform, there is strong evidence that the country has now turned a corner,” Katainen added. [AP/Combined reports]

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