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'We have nothing to fear from Greek crisis'

THE euro debt crisis could see a new twist tonight with a crucial confidence vote in Greece's beleaguered socialist government.

The result of the vote, the latest act of a political drama that has horrified the loan-dependent country's European partners and global markets, is due at 10pm Irish time.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said Ireland and the rest of Europe should not fear a change of government in Greece.

Prime Minister George Papandreou's future depends on his own lawmakers in the ballot.

The ruling party has a tenuous majority of two in the 300-seat assembly, but one socialist lawmaker has said she will not back the government.

If the government falls, it is not clear if a new government would sign up to the country's international bailout.

A socialist revolt and international pressure forced Papandreou to retract plans for a referendum on Greece's latest bailout agreement.

Papandreou sparked a global crisis when he announced the referendum on Monday, as investors feared that rejection of the hard-fought debt relief plan would force a disorderly Greek default.

World leaders expressed impatience and irritation with Europe's inability to defeat its two-year financial crisis as they urged swift resolution for the sake of the global economy.



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With Greece's debt-ridden government at risk of collapsing today, Group of 20's meeting in Cannes, France, pushed European authorities to flesh out and enact a week-old rescue plan that has already shown signs of unravelling.

"We are grappling with a lack of confidence in markets that leaders will act," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said. "It is therefore very important for leaders to act."

Such calls -- echoed by the US, Britain, China and Russia -- highlight international disappointment that Europe missed the G-20's deadline to deliver a fix for its fiscal woes.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy sought to regain the initiative by keeping aid for Greece on ice and demanding Italy accelerate austerity.

"The eurozone must absolutely send a message of credibility to the whole world," Sarkozy told reporters.

"When we take decisions they must be applied, when we set rules they must be respected."

Whether Greece will need to quit the 12-year-old bloc - designed by its founders as permanent - was discussed by the G-20.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper predicted after that "cooler heads will prevail."

As European Central Bank President Mario Draghi warns a recession is looming, the euro area may find some support after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the BRICS group of emerging markets is ready to stump up cash.


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