Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Singer Nana Mouskouri offers Euro MP pension to Greece

Nana Mouskouri
The singer was a Euro MP for Greece's conservative New Democracy party

Greek singer Nana Mouskouri says debt-laden Greece can have her European Parliament pension to help ease the pressure on the public finances.

The singer, who served as a Euro MP from 1994 to 1999, said she saw the offer as her "duty to the country".

She urged Greeks to help their country. She gets an EU pension of 25,000 euros (£23,000) annually, her agent said.

The Greek government has announced tax rises and spending cuts to slash the budget deficit and public debt burden.

Mouskouri's offer came in a letter to the Greek finance ministry, quoted by the Greek daily Eleftherotypia. She said she did not want Greece to be "treated like a dunce".

Mouskouri spoke of the country's "new injury which is difficult to treat, and I thought about how to help".

She recalled the forest fires that have ravaged parts of Greece in recent years.

Mouskouri is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time and has sold more than 300 million records.

Born on the island of Crete, she has recorded 1,500 songs in seven languages during her career.

She was an MEP for Greece's conservative New Democracy party, which is now in opposition.

The socialist government has pledged to reduce Greece's budget deficit from 12.7% - more than four times the limit under eurozone rules - to 8.7% during 2010.

It is also seeking to reduce its 300bn euro ($419bn; £259bn) debt.

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