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Bonds News

EU bickering held back support for Greece -Greek PM

* Greek PM blames EU bickering for slowing Greek support

* Says Greece can’t fight battle with markets alone

* Vows to work hard on fiscal plan

ATHENS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday blamed bickering among EU bodies for delaying support for his country and promised to speed up work to resolve a fiscal crisis shaking the euro zone.

Papandreou thanked EU peers for pledging political support to debt-ridden Greece during a special summit on Thursday but said this had come late in its battle with financial markets.

“Greece is not a political nor an economic superpower to fight this battle alone. In the last months, the European Union has given its political support ... but in the battle against impressions and the psychology of the market it appeared, to say the least, timid,” he told a televised cabinet meeting.

Greece shocked markets when the newly elected socialists revealed in October the budget deficit would reach 12.7 percent of GDP in 2009, three times over original estimates. Greek bonds and stocks took a pounding amid fears of a debt crisis.

The EU offered political backing but no concrete bailout plan for Greece on Thursday. EU finance ministers will discuss the issue again next week.

Papandreou said that in the past few months, the EU had supported Greece’s deficit-cutting plan but was less effective in forging a common stance in the face of market pressure.

“There was lack of coordination among the various bodies of the EU -- the Commission, the member states, the ECB -- and even differences of opinion within these bodies,” he said. “All this has undermined our credibility even within the European Union ... all this has not helped our position in the markets.”

Papandreou also accused EU bodies of not assuming their responsibility for failing to monitor the previous conservative government, which he blamed for manipulating data and setting Greece on a destructive course.

“There was an effort by many in the European Union to hide from their responsibilities behind Greece: the responsibility of the European Union, the Commission, and even Eurostat to be alert and point out to the previous government on what a slipperly slope it was,” he said.

Papandreou said the crisis was a major test not just for Greece but for the whole of the EU and vowed his country would honour the bloc’s support by working hard on its fiscal plan.

“This battle is not over ... Greece will be the source of all evils if we don’t implement our plan,” he said. “It is our duty to prove by our actions that we will fulfill our commitments.” (Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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