EU considers aid as Greek workers strike
ATHENS - Greek workers shut down schools, grounded flights, and walked out of hospitals yesterday to protest austerity measures brought on by the nation’s staggering debt, as European leaders wrangled over whether and how to come to the country’s financial rescue.
Greece’s prime minister headed to a European Union summit where leaders will address the debt crisis today. Greece’s fiscal problems have shaken the euro and underscored the interconnectedness of the global economy.
US and European stocks rose on hopes for a rescue plan that might take pressure off other struggling eurozone countries such as Portugal and Spain, but it is unclear what wealthier EU nations will do to help Greece.
The EU’s largest economies, Germany and France, are ready to offer their support to Greece at the summit but will wait to see if other countries join the effort, a French diplomatic official said in a briefing ahead of the summit. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, did not provide specifics.
“Here’s the message: We are behind Greece,’’ the official said. “I don’t think (financial) aid needs to be extended to Greece tomorrow; I think a message needs to be given to markets that we will know how to resolve the Greek question.’’
German officials said there is no urgent need for a bailout at the moment and that “no decision on such help’’ is imminent.