Greece Assumes Presidency of EU

Mostly ceremonial role


(Reuters) – Greece took over the presidency of the European Union on Wednesday and chose the moment to deliver a staunch defense of its efforts to recover from six years of recession and two bailouts that have cost it more than 200 billion euros.

Meeting Brussels-based journalists as Athens took on what is largely a ceremonial EU role for the next six months, Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras were quick to highlight nascent signs of recovery, with forecasts for the economy to grow marginally this year.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras delivered a similar message, while all of them trod carefully around the possibility that Greece will need another loan or else have to write off or renegotiate a portion of its vast debts later this year.