Europeans prepared to back Greece in next phase

With Greek bond yields continuing to shoot up Thursday, the European Commission stepped in to try to calm markets as it insisted that it would stand by Greece even if the country does not continue with the International Monetary Fund part of its program beyond the end of the year.

“There should be no doubt that Europe will continue to assist Greece in whatever way is necessary so the government can keep financing itself,” said Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen, adding that the country had made “immense progress” since 2010.

Katainen said the Commission would work closely with Greece to complete the review and “ensure a smooth evolution of European support” even after the bailout ends.

Kathimerini understands that the Commission official’s intervention during a regular press briefing in Brussels came about after Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Commission president-in-waiting Jean-Claude Juncker spoke on Wednesday night.

European Stability Mechanism chief Klaus Regling also indicated that the eurozone is prepared to help Greece exit its bailout at the end of the year, provided there is some form of support.

“It could mean a precautionary program,” Regling told the German MNI news service. “Precautionary arrangements are one of the instruments that are available. I think in the euro area there is a lot of sympathy for the idea that Greece should have a precautionary arrangement to accompany its reform efforts. That could be a useful fallback in case they do need more money.”

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