By Andrew Torchia

LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – Austerity steps announced by Greece on Wednesday may pave the way for European Union government aid, easing fears that Greece could lose its ability to borrow from debt markets at affordable rates.

But market worries about Greece are likely to remain acute for the foreseeable future, and doubts will remain over its ability to hit fiscal targets amid a deep recession.

Confidence in the euro currency and euro zone assets in general will probably not revive fully. Any EU aid to Greece would not resolve big divergences in the performances of euro zone economies, and could create a precedent for the zone’s rich states to bail out the profligate spending of poor ones.

PROSPECTS FOR EU AID

Greece’s announcement may be a key step towards an informal aid-for-austerity exchange deal with EU governments.

All parties are under growing time pressure to reach a deal on easing the crisis because Greece needs to refinance about 20 billion euros of debt maturing in April and May.