Eurozone releases 110 bn euro bailout package for Greece
The heads of state and governments of the 16 eurozone nations on Friday launched a historic 110 billion-euro financial aid package to bailout heavily indebted Greece from bankruptcy and vowed to fight speculators endangering the stability of their common currency.
At an emergency meeting in Brussels, the eurozone leaders expressed concern over mounting pressure on the euro in financial markets and deplored the fact that speculators were targeting other debt-ridden nations such as Portugal, Spain and Ireland as the next candidates for a bailout.
They agreed on a "crisis management mechanism" to protect the eurozone from speculators and to prevent the debt crisis in Greece from engulfing the whole euro area, chairman of the euro group and Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Junker, said at the conclusion of Friday's summit.
Details of the plan are still being worked out and they will be made public by the finance ministers of the euro group in Brussels on Sunday, Junker told reporters.
He said he expected the crisis management mechanism to be put in place before the financial markets open on Monday.
The drop in the value of Greek government bonds to their lowest level and the plunge in European stock markets are evidence of a "worldwide coordinated attack against the euro",
The eurozone nations are determined to defend their common currency at any cost, president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said, "The euro is facing its worst crisis since it was created eleven years ago. We have taken some very important decisions here."
Sarkozy also spoke of plans for further regulating financial markets and closely scrutinising the work of ratings agencies.
The finance sector will have to make a significant contribution to preserve the stability of the eurozone.
"The euro is Europe, we cannot leave it to the speculators," he said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared similar views and said, "We have established that the euro is subjected to a high level of speculation."