Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Thursday, 10 December 2009

Greece's debt reaches 300bn euros

An old man sells tissues outside a store in central Athens
Other EU members are concerned about Greece's debt

Greece's debt has reached the highest level in its modern history, the country's deputy finance minister Philippos Sachinidis has said.

Mr Sachinidis said the country's debt stood at 300bn euros ($442bn; £272bn).

Separately, Sweden's prime minister, who currently holds the European Union presidency, said Greece's problems should be solved domestically.

Earlier this week, the international ratings agency Fitch downgraded Greece's debt rating.

Mr Sachinidis was speaking after an all-party crisis meeting called by Prime Minister George Papandreou.

EU support?

Meanwhile, there were mixed messages coming from European leaders ahead of an EU summit in Brussels later.

"What we now are seeing in Greece is of course problematic, but it is basically a domestic problem that has to be addressed by domestic decisions," Swedish premier Fredrik Reinfeldt said as he arrived at the summit.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU shared a "common responsibility" for Greece.

"What happens in a member country influences all the others, particularly when you have a common currency," she said after a meeting in Bonn.

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said the most important thing was that there were no "surprises" lurking behind Greece's statements.

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