President Barack Obama says there is no doubt that the European Union’s agreement to slash Greece’s debt and enlarge a bailout fund is progress. The president says strong execution of the plan is essential.
After meeting Thursday with the Czech Republic’s prime minister, Petr Necas, President Obama said the EU debt accord is a step toward resolving the euro zone’s debt crisis.
“I was very pleased to see that the leaders of Europe recognize that it is both in Europe's interest and the world's interest that the situation is stabilized. And I think they have made significant progress over the last week and the key now is just to make sure that it drives forward in an effective way,” Mr. Obama said.
Share prices soared on world markets after the agreement was announced. In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained almost three percent, largely in reaction to the news.
Obama said the health of Europe’s economy directly affects the health of America’s economy.
“If Europe is weak, if Europe is not growing, as our largest trading partner, that is going to have an impact on our businesses and our ability to create jobs here in the United States,” Mr. Obama said.
EU leaders persuaded banks and investors to accept a 50 percent loss on Greek government bonds, which would cut Greece’s debt in half. Under the plan, banks would need to raise another $148 billion by June. And the 17 countries in the euro zone will boost their bailout fund to $1.4 trillion.
President Obama thanked Prime Minister Necas for the Czech Republic’s contribution to the NATO-led military coalition fighting in Afghanistan.
Both leaders said their nations remain committed to promoting democracy and human rights.