Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

‘Greece is not Argentina,’ Juncker says

Greece's recent efforts to get its public finances into shape could have been the model for recently defaulted Argentina to follow.

That's the view of Jean-Claude Juncker, the man who is due to take over the European Union's executive branch in November.

After talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens, Juncker said the reforms carried about by the country over the past few years could have served as a model for Argentina, which last week defaulted on its debts for the second time since 2001.

Story continues below advertisement

"Greece could have been a good example for Argentina to avoid the problems it was not able to avoid," Juncker said. "So Greece is not Argentina."

In his first trip abroad since being elected to head the European Commission, Juncker praised Greek efforts to improve public finances, and insisted that he played a key role in keeping the country in the euro currency zone.

"I really fought like a lion, I would say," Juncker said. "There was a great battle to counter those who wanted to remove Greece from the euro."

Greece is poised to soon emerge from its savage six-year recession. Four years ago it nearly went bankrupt and required billions in rescue loans from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

Under its bailout agreements, Greece had to impose punishing austerity measures. The spending cuts, tax rises and economic reforms have helped the threat of an exit from the euro recede.

Juncker, who headed the Eurogroup of finance ministers for the large bulk of the European debt crisis, did not name those he claimed were intent on Greece leaving the euro.

Juncker, who succeeds, Jose Manuel Barroso on Nov. 1, declined to comment on options being considered by eurozone countries to make Greece's national debt sustainable and refused to give details on his choices for the next European Commission.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.