NEWS

PM calls for unity at EU summit

Prime Minister George Papandreou was one of several European Union leaders that yesterday called for unity ahead of a summit in Brussels where the final structure of a permanent support mechanism for indebted eurozone countries, like Greece, to receive financial support is to be decided. «The challenge today is not what we as member states or nations are doing to shore up our economies, the challenge is a collective one now,» Papandreou stated as he arrived for the talks. The Greek leaders said that the Brussels summit would reach «important decisions about the future of Europe.» Papandreou took his seat at the negotiating table at the European Commission as Moody’s rating agency warned that it could further downgrade Greek sovereign bonds due to concern about the country’s capacity to reduce its debt to sustainable levels. Ahead of the summit, Greece had found itself in conflict with Germany over a number of aspects of the permanent mechanism, including whether private bondholder should be forced to accept a lower return on their investment, or a «haircut,» if a country receives financial support. However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to adopt a conciliatory approach ahead of the talks yesterday. «We all share the same objective: to ensure a stable Europe and single currency,» she said, adding that the mechanism was a strong display of «solidarity between the states that share the euro.» The EU leaders were set to agree on the partial redrafting of the 27-nation bloc’s Lisbon Treaty to allow for the creation of a permanent support structure that would be up and running by January 1, 2013.