Euro Members Ready to Defend Currency, Greece Says

Europe’s response to the Greek fiscal crisis shows that the bloc will do whatever is necessary to protect its currency, Greece’s Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said today in Washington.

“Europe, the members of the euro zone, are committed to a common currency and will defend it at any cost,” Papaconstantinou told reporters after meetings at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington.

Greece is trying to shore up confidence among investors after asking the other 15 countries that share the euro for financial aid last week as it seeks to service more than 300 billion euros ($402 billion) in debt with investors demanding yields of more than 10 percent to buy its bonds.

Papaconstantinou is negotiating for a lifeline of as much as 45 billion euros this year as investors doubt his country can finance itself after its budget deficit totaled 13.6 percent of gross domestic product last year. With Greece facing 8.5 billion euros of bonds maturing May 19, finance ministers are seeking a swift resolution of the talks.

Papaconstantinou said bridge financing could be used if the European Union-IMF package doesn’t come soon enough.

“A number of European countries have already moved to go through the parliamentary process,” Papaconstantinou said. “I want to publicly thank them for doing so. If, however, there is some delay in the parliamentary process, it is very clear that this can be met with bridge financing.”

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