Europe alongside Greece if right steps made: Germany, Poland

21st June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Europe should stand shoulder to shoulder with embattled Greece, but Athens must make good on promises to rein in its debt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday.

"On the one hand, Greece's competitiveness must increase, its debt must be reduced in the medium term and the Greek government must make the appropriate decisions," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Poland.

"On the other hand, we are ready to show solidarity if the right decisions are taken on the Greek side," she told reporters at a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

"Just like Poland, we want the euro to remain a stable currency," she said.

"Helping Greece is in our own interests. But it is also in the interests of Europe as an entity to remain competitive," she added.

Unlike Germany, Greece and 15 other European Union nations, Poland is not a member of the eurozone.

But its strong trade ties with eurozone members mean that the impact of the Greek crisis on the currency bloc is a major concern for Warsaw.

In addition, on July 1 it takes the helm of the 27-nation EU for six months.

Tusk warned against a self-centred approach to Greece's woes.

"It is in the interests of Europe, and therefore of Poland, to get everyone out of this crisis," he said.

"I advise everyone, all the sceptics, to cross their fingers for Europe, for France, for Germany, for Greece," he added.

Merkel reiterated her calls for banks to take part in plans to rescue Greece.

"We're perfectly aware that this burden cannot lie only on the shoulders of Greek taxpayers. Banks must take part in this, via a voluntary contribution," she said.

"I'm optimistic about a positive solution, because it's in the interests of banks and of the markets as a whole to maintain the euro's stability," she added.

© 2011 AFP

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