The vice president joked that U.S. taxpayers could come to Greece’s rescue, while introducing a treasury official during a meeting with Greek President Karolos Papoulias, reports My Fox New York.
“This man represents the Treasury department. He’s brought hundreds of millions of dollars,” Biden said.
Some would say that Biden’s comments are about as funny as comments made by the president earlier this year when he revealed that there weren’t as many “shovel ready” projects as he had predicted:
“[Biden's] comments, which drew laughter from members of the Greek and American delegations, could well unnerve U.S. taxpayers at home, amid growing concern about the global impact of a potential eurozone collapse,” writes the Associated Press.
Indeed, the Vice President’s comments probably won’t go over to well back in America. But why did members of the Greek and American delegations “laugh,” as the AP reports? Writers at Zero Hedge provide their take on the situation:
It is unclear if the Greeks laughed because the noted number was orders of magnitude less than what would be needed to actually put a dent in the Greek fast-motion train wreck, or because everyone was waiting to see what the American taxpayer’s response would be to learn that while America is hopelessly locked in gridlock of releasing more cash to that country’s middle class, the US Treasury is quite happy to disburse taxpayer funding to Greece. We are holding out breath to find out.
Biden went on to tell Greek political leaders Monday his government is “standing with you in solidarity,” at the start of a crucial week for the future of the debt-saddled eurozone.
“It is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States that Greece work its way through this financial crisis and that it remain a strong and vital part of the European Union,” Biden said before beginning talks with Papademos.
Biden stuck to a deliberately optimistic view of the situation, reports Fox Nation.
“I think that out of difficult times opportunities present themselves, and with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, a year from now we will have not only weathered this crisis, but even be in a stronger position. Let’s get to work.”
“And we stand prepared to help you in any way we can,” the Vice President assured delegate members.
His comments come on the heels of last week’s coordinated efforts by the United States and other central banks to provide relief to banks in the eurozone.
The eurozone debt crisis began in Greece two years ago, and the country is currently negotiating the terms of a second, massive bailout package from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.
The new debt deal involves lengthy negotiations with banks to accept voluntary losses on Greek government bonds.
European leaders will meet at a summit Friday on the eurozone — alarmed by surging borrowing costs among its vulnerable members.
Ahead of that summit, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is traveling to Germany, France and Italy for talks with top European officials.
Papademos was appointed to head the Greek coalition government last month, backed by the majority and rival conservative party.
He said discussions with Biden would also include developments in the Balkans, north Africa and Cyprus. The war-divided island of Cyprus is at odds with nearby Turkey over plans to exploit undersea oil and gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean. The plan is backed by Israel and Greece.
“These are areas where cooperation between the U.S. and Greece can play an important role in preserving stability and security,” Papademos said.
Biden is to meet later Monday with Socialist leader George Papandreou, who stepped down as prime minister last month, as well as conservative leader Antonis Samaras.
He is due to return to the United States after ending his visit to Athens later in the day.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.