By Jay Heflin - 05/08/10 09:14 PM EDT
Vice President Joseph Biden on Saturday addressed the press with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and pledged the U.S. would support efforts to stem the financial crisis that has befallen Greece and potentially other countries within the European Union.
“We agreed on the importance of a resolute European action to strengthen the European economy and to build confidence in the markets,” Biden said. “And I conveyed the support of the United States of America toward those efforts and was pleased to hear the efforts that were under way on the part of the president.”
The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have pledged $145 billion to bail out the country of Greece, which has recently become overwhelmed with debt. The U.S. is the largest contributor to the IMF.
Zapatero said that ending the financial crisis quickly would go a long way to keep alive the economic recovery that is happening in parts of the EU.
“I’ve told Vice President Biden that economic recovery is under way in Europe and in the euro zone, and that it is key at the present time to overcome the crisis in the markets so as to keep up economic recovery and job creation,” he said.
The prime minister also mentioned that the U.S. has a vested interest in seeing that Spain does not face Greece’s fate. There has been speculation recently that Spain would need as much as $450 billion to keep it from becoming overburden by debt.
“The United States is a very important investor in Spain,” Zapatero said. “It has trust in Spain. It has trust in Spain’s future, in its companies.”
The prime minister said that an increasing number of Spanish companies are working within the U.S.; the renewable energy sector was specifically mentioned, the growth of which is a priority of the Obama administration.
“We are very happy with this growing commercial relationship,” Zapatero said.
The two leaders also discussed the collaborative efforts that the U.S. and Spain have engaged in on the diplomatic front.
“Our soldiers are side by side in Afghanistan. Our aid workers are joined in Haiti,” Biden said. “Our diplomats are collaborating closely from the Balkans to the Middle East. And our government and citizens cooperate in more areas than I can or should enumerate right now.”