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EU, UK settle row over Greek aid

Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 01:51

EU officials appear to have defused a row with London over funding for Greece. As David Pollard reports, it risked fuelling demands in Britain to quit the EU altogether.

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David Cameron's been vocal in calling for debt relief for Greece. The British prime minister backing comments by the IMF that criticise the euro zone's latest bailout package. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "We are not involved in the debate directly because we are not in the euro, and we are not going to join the euro. But they need to resolve these issues, and they need to resolve them quite fast." That's not to say the UK's happy about writing any cheques for Greece. Although it appears it may have to do just that - around one billion euros expected to be the UK's share of a possible emergency bridging fund for Athens. Cameron's finance minister, George Osborne, said earlier this week that that idea was a 'non-starter'. But, now, under a compromise with Brussels, any UK money spent will, reportedly, be protected. Holger Schmieding, Chief Economist, Berenberg Bank. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HOLGER SCHMIEDING, CHIEF ECONOMIST, BERENBERG BANK, SAYING: ''Brussels is trying to find a way to guarantee these countries - Britain, Sweden and a few others - against losses. That is a difficult process, but in the end I think it will happen as even Britain should not have a big interest in upsetting its neighbours across the Channel badly.'' Cameron plans to hold an in/out referendum on EU membership unless he gets a new membership deal. Brussels is keen to keep the mood measured ahead of that - Britain too. But Greece raising the stakes for both. Raoul Ruparel of the Open Europe policy think tank. (SOUNDBITE) (English) RAOUL RUPAREL, CO-DIRECTOR, OPEN EUROPE, SAYING: ''Cameron can't be seen to be .... putting new demands on the table at this time of crisis. So I think he needs to offer support and show that he is willing to help out, particularly in humanitarian and geopolitical terms for Greece, but he also has to make the case very carefully that this fundamentally questions the future of the EU and the euro zone.'' Eurosceptic members of Cameron's own Conservative Party may be harder to placate. One slamming the emergency kitty for Greece as a 'slap in the face'.

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EU, UK settle row over Greek aid

Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 01:51