Sunday, July 17, 2011

US State Department Expresses Support for Austerity Measures in Greece

US supports Greece austerity measures

Sun Jul 17, 2011 8:26PM

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her trip to Athens, has praised financially-troubled Greece for implementing austerity measures.

"I applaud the Greek government on its willingness to take these difficult steps. Greece has inspired the world before, and I have every confidence that you are doing so again," Clinton said on Sunday after a meeting with her counterpart Stavros Lambrinidis.

She further urged Athens to continue its effort to resolve their debt crisis, AFP reported.

The trip has been regarded as an effort to boost the popularity of the US-born Prime Minister George Papandreou.

Measures taken by Papandreou's administration to bring stability to Greece's troubled economy has included budget cuts and tax hikes, which has lead to waves of anti-government demonstrations that have turned violent at times, leaving scores of protesters and security forces injured.

Greece has a debt of over EUR 300 billion, which is worth more than 150 percent of its annual economic output.

Clinton said the austerity measures can be viewed as “having to take the strong medicine that tastes terrible when it goes down and you wish you didn't have to, or the chemotherapy to get rid of the cancer” for the people of Greece.

"We believe that the recent legislation will make Greece more competitive, will make Greece more business-friendly," she added.

Clinton also met Greek President Carolos Papoulias and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and will meet the main opposition leader Antonis Samaras before leavening Greece.

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