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Greece looks to buy more time

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 02:12

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras starts a European charm offensive with talks to persuade euro zone chief Jean-Claude Juncker that the debt-laden nation has the will to ram through unpopular reforms and deserves more time to do it. But will more time ultimately save Greece?

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N.B. PLEASE USE THIS VERSION - IT HAS THE LKATEST PICTURES OF SAMARAS AND JUNCKER For the euro zone - summer holidays are over. The spotlight is now shining once again on Greece. The bailed-out nation is trying to convince its creditors it can push through unpopular reforms but deserves more time to do so. To help his case, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is on a charm offensive with European leaders - first up euro zone chief Jean-Claude Juncker. Samaras will apparently stress he doesn't need more money but William Hobbs from Barclays isn't so convinced. SOUNDBITE: William Hobbs, VP of Research, Economics & Strategy, Barclays, saying (English): "It's difficult to see how they would survive without a bit more help possibly. From our perspective, we'd still rather not find out what the euro zone looks like without Greece, so we'd hope politicians will continue to do whatever is necessary to keep them within the euro zone. It sounds like German politicians are softening some of their stance vis-a-vis Greece and helping them." Athens says a deeper than predicted recession is preventing it meeting the conditions of its 130 bln euro bailout. But Greece's creditors have heard it all before, says Gustavo Bagattini from RBC Capital Markets. SOUNDBITE: Gustavo Bagattini, European Senior Economist, RBC Capital Markets, saying (English): "I think the key thing for the Greek government is to re-establish some credibility that it can deliver on the fiscal measures and it can deliver on structural reforms and until you have that, which we won't see the sketches of until we see the conclusion of the first review, we're unlikely to see this charm offensive work." Samaras is calling for "breathing space" rather than a formal agreement. But it's thought Germany - Europe's paymaster - will be hard to sweet talk during the Greek leader's trip to Berlin and Paris. Greece clearly wants to avoid bankruptcy and with it the end of financial aid. And a recent Reuters poll suggests a growing number of economists believe they may now stay in the euro zone. But the so-called troika of international creditors returns next month to look again at the books. It may take more than a charm offensive to save Greece. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Greece looks to buy more time

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 02:12