Greece Formally Asks for Bailout Plan to Begin

Prime minister says debt crisis 'threatens to demolish' economy

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Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Friday, April 23, formally asked the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to dispense the financial aid package that was arranged two weeks ago.

In a nationally televised address, Papandreou said that recent austerity measures had failed to stem the debt crisis plaguing Greece, as soaring borrowing costs had swamped the country's finances.

"There was no response from the markets, either because they didn't believe in the political will of the EU or because they decided to go on with speculation," Papandreou said. "The situation threatens to demolish not only the sacrifices of the people but also the regular course of the economy. All the efforts by the Greek people are in danger of being in vain."

The aid plan would offer up to 30 billion euros, or $40 billion, in loans from the EU, as well as up to 15 billion euros from the IMF.

Read a story on Europe's bailout plan to Greece from the archives of

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