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Greek Prime Minister Makes Emergency Return Trip

AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

In Greece, Prime Minister George Papandreu is holding an emergency cabinet meeting today. Yesterday, he cancelled a planned trip to the U.S. and the U.N. General Assembly to deal with the worsening crisis at home. The country is mired in deep recession. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli reports Greece's EU partners are disappointed with the slow march toward reform in Athens.

SYLVIA POGGIOLI: Despite draconian austerity measures, Greece has failed to reach its fiscal targets due to a deeper-than-projected recession. Many analysts say the policy of sharp spending cuts and tax hikes imposed by Greece's international lenders - the EU and the IMF - is stifling economic growth, while the debt mountain continues to grow. Popular anger over the constant addition of new austerity measures is directed not only at the government but also at what is seen as ambivalence and confusion among European leaders over how and whether to prevent a Greek default. And with Papandreou's socialist government becoming weaker and weaker, the conservative opposition is riding a wave of public discontent and calling for snap elections. Sylvia Poggioli, NPR News, Athens. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.