Greece, Germany, tied together in crisis

Sept. 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM
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ATHENS, Greece, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Political leaders from Germany and Greece Tuesday pledged to pull Greece through its debt problems.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou both speaking to a group of German business leaders, reiterated pledges to keep Greece from falling into default, The New York Times reported.

"The euro zone must now take bold steps towards fiscal integration to stabilize the monetary union," Papandreou said. "Let's not allow those who are betting against the euro to succeed."

In her speech, Merkel said, "If Europe isn't doing well, then over the medium term Germany won't do well."

In Athens, Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said an international team of auditors would return to Athens this week to further assess the country's finances.

The European Union and the International Monetary fund sent a team to Athens in August to see if Greece had met financial targets that would allow it to qualify for a critical tranche of international aid.

Auditors pulled back from the earlier assessment, fearing Greece would not make the grade, which would further sap confidence in bond markets.

Venizelos, however, said Greece would do "everything necessary" to ensure it passed the inspection, even though continued erosion of the country's economic expectations created "increasingly tough measures," for Greece to achieve.

It appeared likely a new property tax law would pass by a slim majority in the 300-seat Greek parliament, the Times said.

In Germany, lawmakers will vote Thursday on a measure to support the European Financial Stability Facility, a vote also likely to pass, but costly from a political point of view for the governing coalition.

Many German voters are not happy using their own tax money to pay for a bailout for Greece, the newspaper said.

If Greece does not receive more financial assistance by mid-October, the country could go into default, the Times reported.

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