EU-IMF Aid For Greece Would Be "Immediate"

World | April 23, 2010, Friday // 16:03|  views

"I cannot specify with the precision of one hour or one day, but essentially immediately," Olli Rehn told a conference in Washington, D.C.Photo by EPA/BGNES

Financial aid for Greece could be delivered " immediately," if the country asks for help, the bloc's economy commissioner, Olli Rehn, said.

"I cannot specify with the precision of one hour or one day, but essentially immediately," Rehn told a conference in Washington, D.C., ahead of a meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Greece's prime minister asked on Friday for the activation of a joint eurozone-International Monetary Fund financial rescue plan, calling it “a matter of national need”.

The rescue package will provide Greece with loans from other eurozone countries to the tune of EUR 30 B at interest rates of about 5%, and about EUR 10 B from the IMF.

The news comes a day after it was confirmed that the Greek government ran up a budget deficit of EUR 32.34 B in 2009, representing 13.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) far worse than expected.

Moody's Investors Service has lowered Greece's sovereign ratings to A3 from A2 and placed them on review for further possible downgrade.

With national debt of almost EUR 300 B and bond yields exceeding junk-rated nations such as the Philippines, Greece faces a fiscal mess that threatened to spread to Spain and Portugal, forcing the EU to set up a standby aid facility, the Bloomberg agency commented.

At stake is the future of the euro 11 years after its creators gave the European Central Bank responsibility for interest rates while leaving fiscal policy in national capitals.

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Tags: greece, Moody's, economic growth, Simeon Djankov, Boyko Borisov, EC, European Commission, finance minister, Convergence Program, Eurozone, ERM II, budget deficit, recession, GDP


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