NEWS

Greek support for EU credit deal

European leaders have decided to act «decisively and concertedly» to tackle the global financial crisis, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis told Greeks yesterday after an emergency meeting in France. Without revealing details of the measures, the Greek premier said in a televised address that they were designed to help people regain their confidence in the credit system and to return some calm to the markets. «Restoring things after the crisis is going to be a tough process,» said Karamanlis. The EU leaders agreed on a plan to jointly confront the banking crisis by recapitalizing banks and guaranteeing inter-bank lending, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said after the meeting in Paris. The individual countries are due to unveil the details of their national plans today and the new procedures will be in place until December 31, 2009, Sarkozy, who chaired the meeting, said. Greece has already raised the guarantee on bank deposits from 20,000 euros to 100,000 euros for three years and Karamanlis claimed that the Greek reaction had been swifter than that of many other countries. However, Karamanlis and Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis have underlined their belief that the financial crisis has to be tackled on a European level rather than by each country individually. Speaking from Washington, where he was attending the annual International Monetary Fund and World Bank conference, Alogoskoufis said that the main aim of any action must be to restore people’s confidence in the system. He added that the government has no plans to raise value-added tax (VAT) or property tax and would consider providing more financial aid to the poor if that were deemed necessary.