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Barroso in Greece for debt talks, Draghi committed to preserving euro, and Citibank gives ominous prediction


Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (R) meets EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at Samaras' office in Athens July 26, 2012. Greece must present the budget cut plan for 2013-2014 to a team of inspectors from the troika of international lenders visiting Greece this week to assess progress before releasing more funds to the cash-strapped country.



Mario Draghi, chief of the European Central Bank (ECB), said today the bank would “do whatever it takes to preserve the euro," according to Reuters.

Draghi’s statement of determination and support for Europe’s currency comes during European Commission President Jose Barroso’s arrival in Athens to meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

A Barroso spokesperson told the BBC it is "a regular meeting," and the purpose of Barroso’s visit is to meet Samaras and “discuss the overall economic situation in Europe and in particular in Greece."

However, there is speculation that Barroso’s trip to Athens—the first in three years—was prompted by concern over weather or not Greece has made enough progress under the latest bailout plan, according to the BBC.

This may be because Barroso's trip corresponds with the arrival of European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors in Greece, who are there to determine if the debt-hobbled country will receive the next bailout installment of 31.5 billion Euros ($38 billion), according to the BBC and

Greece has struggled to meet its financial goals—goals that are a condition of the latest agreed upon bailout plan. Instead of Greece's economy shrinking by an expected five percent, a seven percent decline now seems more likely, Prime Minister Samaras said, the BBC reported

All this comes as Citibank chief economist Willem Buiter made an ominous prediction:

"We now believe the probability that Greece will leave EMU in the next 12-18 months is about 90 percent, up from our previous 50-75 percent estimate, and believe the most likely date is in the next 2-3 quarters," according to the AFP.