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Europe must agree on Greek crisis, says Commission

The president of the European Commission has called for the eurozone nations to commit to a loan pac

José Manuel Barroso's comments come as the continent remains divided over the financial crisis plaguing the debt-hit country.

Greek prime minister George Papandreou seems to have set the deadline for a rescue plan, warning that he could turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help, a move that would be interpreted as a humiliating failure for Europe's single-currency union.

The split between European leaders was clearly evident with conflicting signals emanating from Germany and France.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has argued that Athens should be able to solve its own problems. She does not wish to have the issue on the agenda at the upcoming EU summit in Brussels.

France, however, is insisting on a European solution to the crisis, and has suggested it is premature to talk about an IMF loan for Greece.

Although Germany has softened its position on an IMF bailout, Merkel has warned against "false expectations" of eurozone members rescuing Greece.

The chancellor is not only concerned about a bailout setting a dangerous precedent. She is also mindful of the German electorate which remains hostile to any EU aid package for Greece.

Greece has one of the highest budget deficits in Europe, at about four times the ceiling set by EU budget rules. It must soon refinance most of the debt or risk defaulting on loans, which would be seen as a blow to the credibility of the eurozone economy.