Main European stocks flat as Greece faces ‘critical year’

<p>The main European stock benchmarks are flat in trading as Greece braces for a difficult 2013.</p>

The major European stock indices are flat in trading this morning (December 20th) as debt-addled Greece faces the daunting task of continuing on its road to recovery in 2013.

Speaking to the Financial Times, finance minister for the troubled Mediterranean economy Yannis Stournaras indicated the coming 12 months would be critical for the country, as success hinges on its coalition sticking together and proceeding with the bailout programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Prime minister Antonis Samaras and his contemporaries have asked the Greek people to endure the harsh austerity measures that have led to civil unrest in the nation's capital but are essential for it to receive its vital bailout funding.

"If we continue on this track, reduce the budget deficit and also complete measures to improve competitiveness, 2014 and 2015 will be much easier," Mr Stournaras commented.

At 11:30 GMT, the German Dax index and the French Cac 40 were flat, with the Frankfurt benchmark holding at 7663.7 points, while its Parisian counterpart made very marginal gains to 3664.7 points.

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