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Eurozone Ministers to Greece: No Bailout Payment Without Spending Cuts


European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, right, welcomes Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou at the European Council building in Brussels, June 20, 2011

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, right, welcomes Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou at the European Council building in Brussels, June 20, 2011

Eurozone finance ministers say Greece must pass strong austerity measures before it receives the next $17 billion emergency loan payment from the European Union and the IMF to help stabilize its economy.

The comments came early Monday in Luxembourg after hours of talks during which the finance ministers put off approval of the next installment of the $160 billion bailout package for Greece until early July.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou faces a vote of a confidence in parliament Tuesday, and is urging lawmakers to quickly pass his package of spending cuts and tax increases. The unpopular austerity measures have triggered weeks of protests in Greece. Mr. Papandreou has warned that the country faces bankruptcy and debt default if it does not secure the next installment of the bailout.

Some economists say a Greek default would make banks unwilling to lend money to other nations, which could slow economic growth around the world. Such concerns already have pushed down global stock and energy prices, and have increased concerns about the ability of Ireland and Portugal to repay similar emergency loans.

Athens is negotiating a second bailout package to keep its economy afloat beyond September. But EU leaders have not been able to agree on the terms of such a loan, including how much of it should be funded by the private sector.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP, Bloomberg and Reuters..

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