Greece, Italy PMs reassure leaders

Updated: 2011-11-23 07:59

By Fu Jing (China Daily)

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BRUSSELS - After days of political turbulence, newly appointed prime ministers of Greece and Italy have begun to mobilize external resources and support from Brussels and Washington to implement the strict reform and austerity decisions imposed by the EU.

China Daily learned that the two leaders may soon hold meetings with European powers Germany, France and the UK. Renewing help and investment and trade opportunities from China and other emerging economies is also expected to be high on their agenda.

After meeting European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council leader Herman van Rompuy on Monday, Greek Prime Minister Lukas Papademos vowed that he will push party leaders for the written guarantees that eurozone leaders have requested that they agree to implement.

"This letter by the leaders of the parties supporting the government, as has been requested by the euro group and the IMF ... is necessary in order to eliminate uncertainties and ambiguities concerning actions to be taken in the future by parties that may be in power," Papademos said.

Party leaders must send the requested written confirmations because the country's creditors need reassurance that the government will stick to reforms after the next elections, he added.

"The euro group should be in a position to agree in its next meeting on the disbursement of the sixth tranche of the Greek loan," van Rompuy said after the meeting, referring to the next installment of 110 billion euros ($149 billion) of loans agreed for Athens last year.

Van Rompuy also said that all of Greece's political parties need to maintain their backing for the steps the government was taking, and called on all EU institutions to do their part, a possible reference to the European Central Bank, although he did not mention it by name.

The Greek prime minister is scheduled to meet European Central Bank President Mario Draghi late on Tuesday.

While visiting Brussels on Monday, Papademos obtained support and congratulations from US President Barrack Obama, who lauded him for "taking on such a significant responsibility at a critical moment", according to White House.

Obama said in a phone call that the US supports Greece's efforts to implement its commitments under its EU-IMF program, and also reiterated that the US will stand steadfastly with Greece, a friend and ally, through these difficult times.

New Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti went to Brussels on Tuesday to gain support from European institutions.

AP and AFP contributed to this story.