US Treasury Secretary to Greece: Stick with Austerity

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Greece to persevere with tough economic reforms during a one-day trip to Athens designed to demonstrate Washington’s support for the crisis-plagued country.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urged Greece on Sunday to continue its crushing austerity policies “to ensure prosperity and growth for generations to come.”

Lew is on a one-day visit to Greece after attending the Group of 20 summit in Russia.

Lew emailed his comments to the media Sunday: “We know that Greece has passed through a very difficult period of adjustment and reform. We recognize the difficult decisions and shared sacrifices of the last few years, as well as the challenges that remain. The road ahead is still challenging. Continued reform will be essential to laying the foundation for sustained growth.”

Last week, Greek lawmakers passed a new law that puts 25,000 additional state workers on notice for possible dismissal as part of the wage and pension cuts and tax increases demanded by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

According to The Greek Reporter: “The U.S. is keen on making sure Greece stays in the Eurozone at all costs so that there are no ripple effects that would upset Wall Street and American banks.”

Lew’s visit to Athens comes ahead of a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Aug. 8th.

Lew’s trip came just three days after German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, a leading proponent of the harsh austerity policies, also visited Athens.

Massive Crowd Gathers at Parliament For Greek Anti-Austerity Protest, September 26, 2012.

A protester gestures at riot police during clashes outside the Greek parliament in Athens, on February 12, 2012. Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the square outside Parliament as a parliamentary debate began, with more arriving constantly. As the crowds grew, a few hundred anarchists started to throw bottles and firebombs at police, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

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Republished with permission from: Common Dreams