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Westerwelle gives Greece verbal support in debt struggle

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Westerwelle gives Greece verbal support in debt struggle
Photo: DPA
11:43 CET+01:00
Greece has the "full support" of Germany and other European Union peers as it struggles to beat back a mountain of debt and a runaway public deficit, Germany's foreign minister told a Greek daily Sunday.

"We have confidence that the Greek government will display the required dynamism in addressing the structural weaknesses of the economy," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told Kathimerini daily.

"Athens has the full support of Germany and all other European Union member-states on the issue," said Westerwelle, who is scheduled to travel to Athens on Tuesday for talks with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou. The Greek prime minister currently also holds the post of foreign minister.

Papandreou's Socialist government has battled to regain credibility on financial markets after causing an uproar in October upon coming to power by claiming that official statistics had been misreported by its Conservative predecessors.

The three main global credit rating agencies responded by downgrading Greek sovereign debt standings, pushing up the cost of money even as the government seeks to borrow around €54 billion ($75 billion) this year.

The yield on Greek 10-year bonds this week hit its highest level since Greece joined the eurozone in 2001.

The recession-hit country has a debt of over €294 billion ($412 billion) and a public deficit estimated at 12.7 percent of output.

Papandreou has pledged to use the crisis to overhaul Greece's chronic structural deficiencies, and told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday that he is ready to "draw blood" to beat the corruption, waste and mismanagement blamed for the debt crisis.

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