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EU to support Greece amid crisis

EU President Herman Van Rompuy said Greece must tackle its huge debt.
EU President Herman Van Rompuy said Greece must tackle its huge debt.
  • European Union urges Greece to take steps to tackle huge budget deficit
  • New EU President gave no details of any European rescue plan
  • Herman Van Rompuy says EU will take coordinated action of necessary

(CNN) -- The European Union called on Greece Thursday to do whatever is necessary to reduce the country's skyrocketing budget deficit.

The announcement by new EU President Herman Van Rompuy came at a meeting of European leaders in Brussels, Belgium.

Van Rompuy did not announce a deal to rescue Greece but said European countries would be prepared to step in if needed.

"Euro-area member states will take determined and coordinated action if needed to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole," he told reporters outside the meeting.

"The Greek government has not requested any financial support."

European officials have forecast a 12.2-percent budget deficit for Greece in 2010. Under EU rules, member countries' budget deficits should only be 3 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

In recent weeks, Greece has tried to announce measures to fix the problem, but global markets have not reacted well and the Greek public has launched street protests against the proposals.

Q&A: Greek financial crisis explained

Van Rompuy said all members of the eurozone -- those countries using the euro currency -- have a shared responsibility for the economic and financial stability of their group.

"We fully support the efforts of the Greek government and their commitment to do whatever is necessary, including adopting additional measures to ensure that the ambitious targets set in the stability program for 2010 and the following years are met," he said.

"We call on the Greek government to implement all these measures in a rigorous and determined manner to effectively reduce the budgetary deficit by 4 percent in 2010."

He said the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, will monitor Greece's progress together with the European Central Bank, and will propose additional measures as needed.

The first European assessment of Greece's progress will be conducted next month, Van Rompuy said.