Barroso confirms EU's readiness to aid Greece: reports

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has told a French radio channel the European Union would aid Greece if demanded, according to a transcript released by the channel Friday.

The whole European Union, including Germany, "is ready in case Greece needs (the aid) and so far, Greece hasn't asked for any financial support," Barroso confirmed in an interview with France 24, recorded at the European Summit on Thursday at Brussels.

Eurozone countries should prepare "some kind of mechanism" as soon as possible in case Greece asks for finanical aid, the president said, adding the EU would try all measures to restore the financial stability of Greece.

Barroso also said the EU would bring forward "a mechanism of coordinated systems" that was "based on bilateral loans but within the European framework" provided that all members agrees on it.

However, he didn't exclude the possibility that Greece would turn to International Monetary Fund for help, adding the IMF's help wouldn't harm the prestige of the EU.

"What I want to remind is that Greece and all the member states of the EU are members of the IMF ... EU member states are by far the biggest source of revenue for the IMF," Barroso said.

"So it's not a question of prestige. It's a question of seeing what is the best way to respond to the situation," he said in the interview, which France 24 confirmed would be broadcast on Saturday.

Greece's government has launched austerity measures to save public revenue, but with a debt of 20 billion euros (27 billion U.S. dollars) at term between April and May, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has been anxious for support from peers.

Papandreou called for a united decision at Thursday's EU summit, saying solidarity in Europe was necessary for the debt-plagued country.

Government leaders and heads of states will get together to discuss this issue at the next summit in Brussels on March 25.

[Source: Xinhua, Paris, 19Mar10]

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