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European press remains pessimist over Greek debt crisis.

| BRUSSELS, Feb 15 (KUNA) -- The European Union is mounting pressure on Greece by cancelling a planned meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.

It was widely expected that today's meeting would have approved a second 130-billion euro bailout to save Greece from bankruptcy.

The President of the 17-member Eurogroup Jean-Claude Juncker called off the meeting, saying that he has not received details from Athens about how EUR 325 million will be saved in this year's Greek budget.

Juncker added that he had also not received "the required political assurances" from Greek political leaders.

The new austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF was passed by the Greek Parliament on last Sunday against a backdrop of demonstrations and violence.

However, Greek newspaper Ethnos commented that "the plan solves nothing and leaves the Greeks without an answer on their future." The new austerity measures include a 22 percent reduction to the minimum wage and cut of 15,000 public sector jobs in 2012. Further cuts to pensions and civil service salaries are also foreseen, as well as budget cuts for the army and social security.

The Brussels-based Presseurop website asks "how has the euro been dragged into an apparently insoluble crisis by an economy that represents just three percent of Europe's GDP?" "How is it that a country which only a few years ago was wealthy enough to host the Olympic Games and import large quantities of the latest consumer products is now on the verge of bankruptcy and obliged to make social sacrifices on a level not seen since WWII? The Greek crisis, which began in late 2009, remains an extremely worrying puzzling phenomenon?," it said Dutch paper De Volksrant quoted an unnamed EU official saying "we have had enough of Greek procrastination. We can't keep bailing. There comes a time when the captain has to say: 'Everyone into the lifeboats, we have to jump ship.'" On its part, Polish news paper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna warned that political and economic chaos will turn Greece into a failed state.

More and more EU politicians believe that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone could be the least evil, it noted.

Summing up the sombre mood in his country, Greek editor Nikos Konstandars writing in Kathimeirini paper said "what is at greatest risk is our identity, our civilization. If we cannot stay in the eurozone, if we find ourselves on Europe's edge, we will be defeated, humiliated and alone." (end) nk.asa KUNA 151228 Feb 12NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Feb 15, 2012
Words:437
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