EU 'slow' to react to speculative attacks: Greek PM
The European Union was "slow " to react to speculative attacks against Greece which threatened the stability of the entire euro zone, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Sunday.
"The European Union has been slow to realize that the attack of speculators against Greece was the last stage of an attack against other countries and threatened stability in the euro area," he said in an interview published in top-selling daily Spanish newspaper El Pais.
"Fortunately, now everyone has realized what is happening and we are working together to take necessary measures and shield the euro zone against speculators," he added.
Earlier this month the EU and the International Monetary Fund unveiled a massive one-trillion-dollar (750-billion-euro) debt safety net for EU nations after a wave of speculative attacks against Greece spread to Portugal and Spain, threatening the euro single currency.
As part of the rescue package, the European Central Bank began buying government debt "to ensure depth and liquidity" in the 16-nation euro zone.
"Europe has been slow in making decisions but on the other hand, Europe has made decisions more quickly than ever before," Papandreou said.
"All the changes we have made...are historic. We did not have these mechanisms before," he added.
"We do not need less Europe, but more, with more integration and coordination of European institutions which can face up to these type of things with great speed."
The Greek prime minister said his government was "determined" to implement the austerity measures it has announced to bring its public deficit below a limit of three percent of gross domestic product imposed on eurozone nations.
"We have taken some very difficult decisions," he said. "We had to adopt these emergency measures due to pressure from the market, and demonstrate that we are determined."
Greece on Thursday was hit by its fourth general strike since February against the wage and pension cuts and higher taxes ordered by the government.
© 2010 AFP