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Like Greece, Obama battles austerity

BARACK-OBAMA-PROFILEWASHINGTON, United States, Feb 4 – Are Washington and Athens fighting the same fight against austerity?

President Barack Obama’s weighing in on Greece’s side as it fights to lighten its bailout terms reflects both his own economic policy beliefs but also fears that Europe could plunge back into crisis.

“You cannot keep on squeezing countries that are in the midst of depression,” Obama told CNN on Sunday, in comments that resonated through Greece, where a new anti-austerity government has just taken power and is challenging the rules of the country’s financial rescue.

“At some point, there has to be a growth strategy in order for them to pay off their debts,” Obama said.

Obama’s comments should not be surprising.

It is not the first time he has called for the groups holding some 315 billion euros ($361 billion) of Greek debt to allow the country to slow reforms and spend more.

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