EU's Moscovici backs Greece in euro zone as key vote nears

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2014 6:28 AM

ATHENS (Reuters) - The EU's top economic official said on Tuesday Greece had overcome doubts about its future in the euro zone after years of sacrifice, backing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras as parliament prepares for a vote that could lead to snap elections.

European economic affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici declined to comment directly on the tense political standoff between Samaras and the leftist Syriza party that wants to scrap the bailout package run by the European Union and IMF.

He said he was strictly neutral but he made it clear that he fully backed the Samaras government's efforts to slash Greece's huge public debt and reform its economy after the collapse endured since the start of the crisis more than six years ago.

"Greece's place in the euro zone is no longer in question," he told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Athens, adding that the efforts of the Greek people were starting to pay off. "We need Greece in the euro zone," he said.

The government faces the first round of a parliamentary vote to elect a new president on Wednesday. Failure to get its nominee for the largely ceremonial post elected by the final round of voting on Dec. 29 would trigger a snap parliamentary election.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Lefteris Papadimas; editing by James Mackenzie)