Tags: Greek | Woes | Davos | Economic

Economic Fears of Greece, Europe Mar Davos Talks

Friday, 29 Jan 2010 12:00 PM

Worries over Greece's debt woes and more alarm bells over Europe's economy clouded debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou held new meetings to overcome what they admit is a "credibility deficit" as Athens battles the fallout from a huge national debt.

But the euro lost more ground as worries deepened about Greece and the state of other European economies.

The European currency fell to 1.3938 dollars in Tokyo afternoon trade from 1.3966 in New York late Thursday.

The 16 eurozone countries faced mounting pressure to help the euro member.

"It is in the interests of the eurogroup they provide whatever assistance (is required)," Britain's Finance Minister Alistair Darling was quoted as saying in Davos by the Financial Times.

But he added that Britain would not take part in any rescue as it is not a member of the eurozone.

Greece is struggling under a twin burden of a massive debt of over 294 billion euros (412 billion dollars) and a runaway public deficit estimated at 12.7 percent of output.

It also faces an uphill struggle to restore its credibility after all three major credit rating agencies recently downgraded its sovereign debt ratings in the wake of a furore surrounding the accuracy of Greece's official statistics.

Addressing delegates in Davos on Thursday, Papandreou admitted that Greece has a "credibility gap," but denied a report that he has sought a bailout from Greece's European Union partners.

"There is an attack on the eurozone by certain... interests, political or financial, and often countries are being used as the weak link for the eurozone," he said.

Greece, whose euro membership has been questioned, was being targeted under "an ulterior motive or agenda," he added.

European Central Bank chief Jean-Claude Trichet also dismissed speculation that Greece could be forced out of the 16-nation eurozone.

"Nobody is going to leave the euro," he said, adding: "The euro club is a strong club with strong ties of reciprocal support."

The strains on the eurozone were underlined by new figures Friday showing that inflation increased across continental Europe in January, just as the euro loses ground against the dollar.

Consumer prices in the 16 eurozone countries crept up by 1.0 percent compared to a year earlier, according to figures from the Eurostat data agency, although the rise in the eurozone was much less steep than in December.

New jobless figures were also released showing that one in 10 workers across Europe's the eurozone is now unemployed.

It was the highest rate since the currency was launched a decade ago and up from a downwards-revised 9.9 percent in November.

The forum also debated the war in Afghanistan with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband due to join his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner and German opposite number Guido Westerwelle in a panel discussion.

They had been expected to be joined by Afghan President Hamid Karzai but he cancelled a planned stopover in Davos on his return journey home from the London conference on Afghanistan.

The stalled Middle East peace process was also in the spotlight with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli President Shimon Peres among those making appearances.

© AFP 2017

 
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Economy
Worries over Greece's debt woes and more alarm bells over Europe's economy clouded debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou held new meetings to overcome what they admit is a ...
Greek,Woes,Davos,Economic
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2010-00-29
Friday, 29 Jan 2010 12:00 PM
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