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Merkel: Greece puts euro in 'very difficult phase'

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Merkel: Greece puts euro in 'very difficult phase'
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou. Photo: DPA
19:51 CET+01:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes the euro faces a "very difficult phase" with Greece's budget crisis putting the eurozone under "huge, huge pressures," according to comments published Thursday.

"The Greece example is putting us under great, great pressures. Questions are being asked that are anything but trivial," Merkel said, according to the transcript of comments made at an event on Wednesday.

"Who is going to tell the Greek parliament, could you please pass another pension reform? I'm not sure they would be very impressed if Germany gave the orders. The German parliament certainly wouldn't if Greece did that to us," Merkel said. "As a result, the euro is in a very difficult phase for the coming years."

Greece on Thursday unveiled a blueprint for spending cuts aimed at solving a debt crisis that has shaken the eurozone, with the government due to present the plan to the European Commission on Friday.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet on Thursday dismissed financial market speculation that Greece might quit or be expelled from the 16-nation eurozone as an "absurd hypothesis."

Asked about persistent questions in the markets that debt crises could lead to the expulsion or resignation of Greece and possibly other countries from the eurozone, Trichet replied: "I do not comment myself on absurd hypotheses."

"That being said, there is a lot of hard work to do," Trichet said after a meeting of ECB policymakers. "We have a special message for all members of the euro area, it is also very important that some of them which have a special difficulty, it is for their their own prosperity, for their own recovery that they have to address the situation in taking the appropriate, bold and courageous measures."

Greece has come under mounting pressure from its eurozone partners to rein in huge debt and deficits that are threatening to undermine its credibility on financial markets.

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