United States ready to help Greece: Biden

ATHENS Mon Dec 5, 2011 6:54am EST

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves during his arrival at the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens December 4, 2011. Biden is in Athens on a two-day official visit.  REUTERS/John Kolesidis

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden waves during his arrival at the Athens Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens December 4, 2011. Biden is in Athens on a two-day official visit.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

Related Topics

ATHENS (Reuters) - The United States will support Greece during these difficult times, Vice President Joe Biden said during a visit to Athens on Monday, in remarks that offered reassurance rather than concrete aid.

"I am here to tell you that we stand with you in solidarity as you meet some difficult requirements of the IMF and European Union," Biden told reporters before a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos. "It is a difficult time for Greece and we stand ready to help in every way we can."

Biden travelled to Greece before a key EU summit on the debt crisis in Brussels on Friday, in what has been called a crucial week for the common currency.

Illustrating Washington's concern that the euro zone's troubles could sap the fragile U.S. recovery, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will separately visit the euro zone this week to urge its leaders to act decisively to control the crisis.

U.S. officials speaking in Washington on Geithner's mission stressed that he would bring advice and encouragement rather than money, at a time of severe budget constraints back home.

Greece, mired in its deepest financial woes in decades, is on a cash lifeline from the IMF and larger members of the euro zone to prevent a disorderly default and an exit from the common currency bloc of 17 nations that use the euro.

Some analysts fear that if Greece leaves the euro it could be followed by Spain and Italy, causing the entire euro zone to collapse, and Biden reiterated Washington's strong desire to avoid that outcome.

"It is overwhelmingly in the interests of the United States that Greece works its way through this financial crisis and that it remains a strong and vital part of the European Union," he said.

Geithner is the main U.S. emissary on financial matters and has been central to President Barack Obama's effort to encourage euro zone heavyweights France and Germany to do whatever is needed to resolve the crisis - pressure that has been far from welcome in Berlin and Paris. Biden stuck to a deliberately optimistic view of the situation.

"I think that out of difficult times opportunities present themselves, and with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, a year from now we will have not only weathered this crisis, but even be in a stronger position. Let's get to work."

Earlier on Monday, Biden joked about bringing money to help Greece out of its deepest financial crisis in decades.

Greece's Papademos said he was confident Athens could count on the support of the United States.

(Writing by Alister Bull; Editing by Tim Pearce)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (8)
Pguy wrote:
Just what you would expect, Joe is traveling the world handing out money. We may never know the whole truth, but he probably just took about 100 billion to Greece as a loan direct from the “people of the United States”. And he did not get any collateral.

We are really have a mentally ill bunch in Washington DC.

Next Tim is going to Europe to give them advice on how to do what, print money? Joe has been on a three week paid vacation, and now it is Tim’s turn to tour Europe, and we are borrowing the money to pay for the tripe from the Chinese.

Dec 05, 2011 8:37am EST  --  Report as abuse
RulesToo wrote:
What now. We are borrowing money to give to Greece and saying cut Social Security here at home because we have a debt problem. Dems are nuts.

Dec 05, 2011 10:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
Brian57 wrote:
Our government officials have no conception of the banking system when it comes to Americans money. They hand it out too freely since it is not theres. We are going around the world handing out money (not loans) to everyone that ask. We get no collateral, guarantees or nothing. We will not get or ask for the money back. America has to pay China, Japan or other creditors interest plus the principal. Why doesn’t it work both ways? We are buying these countries to like us or help us? NO. We are an easy mark and a VERY weak government to outsiders, but not to the American people. We get NO help from banks, wallstreet or our own government.Something is terribly wrong and SHOULD be rectified. We need to stay out of the rest of the worlds problems unless asked. And then we need to be compensated in some manner where we benefit and not absorb the expense and grief. ALL our government officals need to be fired and tried for treason against the American people!

Dec 05, 2011 11:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.