June 18, 2012
Greek vote good news, says PMBut plenty of work still ahead for G20
By David Akin, Parliamentary Bureau Chief
LOS CABOS, MEXICO - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday he is encouraged by the results of the election in Greece but cautioned that G20 leaders, meeting here Monday and Tuesday, have much work to do to settle on a long-term plan to stabilize the global economy.
Voters in Greece Sunday elected a Parliament that is likely to agree to a bailout package for that country that includes strict austerity measures but will keep Greece in the eurozone. Ahead of that vote, many had feared that the election could return a Parliament that would reject an austerity program and that would have led to Greece leaving the eurozone and returning to using its national currency, the drachma.
That, in turn, some speculated, could have led to a wholesale breakup of the eurozone and plunged the global economy into a financial chaos.
"The prime minister welcomes the results in Greece today," Andrew MacDougall, Harper's chief spokesman, told reporters here late Sunday night. "Obviously, it's the result that avoids an immediate crisis in the eurozone and so we're encouraged by the result and looking forward to working with the new Greek government in whatever we can."
But while a fiscal catastrophe has, for now, been averted European leaders here will be under pressure from their non-European peers, including Canada, to show that they recognize the urgency in putting more solid plans in place.
"Nobody's under any illusions here," MacDougall said. "There's a lot of work to do and there's still challenges that remain. The result today could have been worse in terms of the eurozone stability and cohesiveness so this is a result that allows the work to continue on."
Before the G20 meetings officially get underway mid-afternoon Monday, Harper will have separate meetings with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and World Bank president Robert Zoellick.