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EU Short on Money and Details Concerning Help for Greece

  • Lisa Bryant

The European Union says it will help Greece overcome its deficit crisis but European leaders offered no specifics after a summit in Brussels.

Leaders from the 27-member European Union vowed to support Greece and promised determined and coordinated action to safeguard the euro currency, which Athens and 15 other EU members share.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels, the EU's permanent president, Herman Van Rompuy said the bloc backed the Greek government's promises to curb its soaring deficit. But the EU offered no money to Greece, as had been widely speculated.

Mr. Van Rumpoy also offered no specifics on what concrete action the bloc might take. He did note, however, that Athens had not asked for financial assistance.

Greece is struggling with a budget deficit amounting to nearly 13 percent of its gross domestic product. It has vowed to slash it to 3 percent - the limit set for the 16 EU nations using the euro currency.

Still, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet dismissed chances that Athens could default on its debt. He also praised efforts by other members of the euro zone to shore up the European currency.

"I appreciate the commitment of euro area member states to take determined and coordinated action, if needed, to safeguard the financial stability in the euro area," said Jean-Claude Trichet.

Greece's economic woes have scared the markets, with some analysts fearing they could spread to other eurozone members. Spain and Portugal also have high deficits and government debts.