TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Bill Radke: European finance ministers meet in Brussels today under pressure to spell out concrete steps for rescuing Greece. The debt crisis there is still troubling the markets. Marketplace’s Europe correspondent, Stephen Beard, joins us live from London. Hey, Stephen.
Stephen Beard: Hello, Bill.
Radke: European leaders already pledged their support for Greece last week. What’s so special about this meeting?
Beard: Well they did, but markets felt that it was a little vague. They said they would defend Greece from speculative attack, but they failed to spell out any specific measures. If this pledge is to be credible, the markets want details.
Radke: And how much detail do you think we’re actually going to get today?
Beard: Well, I think not very much, because there’s still a lot of disagreement here. The key country is Germany, and German public opinion is still very strongly against bailing out the Greeks. Two-thirds of Germans, according to a recent poll, are against it; 56 percent want Greece to be thrown out of the eurozeon altogether if their public finances continue to destablize the euro. So you’ve got the seeds of a serious split developing here — and not just between Germany and Greece. The head of the European Central Bank, Monsieur Trichet, has just called on the Greeks to make deeper cuts in public spending in return for financial help. But the Greeks feel they’ve done as much as they can already. The Greeks now want the whole issue to be put on hold until a meeting of the E.U., the ECB and the IMF in mid-March. Whether the markets will withhold their verdict and wait until then is another matter.
Radke: Should be a very interesting couple of days. Stephen Beard — thank you.
Beard: OK, Bill.
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