News / Europe

Agreement Reached on Financial Rescue Package for Greece

European Union finance ministers are expected to announce the amount of a massive, EU-International Monetary Fund rescue package for Greece, hours after the parties reached agreement on it.

The European Union-IMF rescue package comes with a painful caveat - agreement by Athens to take further austerity measures, notably cutting public salaries, bonuses and pensions and raising taxes.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou outlined the details in a nationally televised address Sunday. He said he would do anything to avoid Greece going bankrupt and he urged Greeks to accept great sacrifices.

At a news conference later, Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the belt-tightening measures would help his country get back on its feet.

"These measures have a counterpart and the counterpart is the significant financial help through this mechanism that we helped create and which is a step, a big step forward for the European Union," said George Papaconstantinou, Greek Finance Minister. "Through this mechanism and this financial help Greece will be shielded from the international markets and will be able to put its house in order."

In Brussels, finance ministers from the 16 EU nations sharing the euro currency, including Greece, met to give final approval to the rescue package. The final deal is expected to be endorsed by European leaders at a special summit later this month.

As he arrived at Sunday's meeting, EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn gave a thumbs-up to the new Greek spending cuts.

"The Greek government has today announced a very comprehensive and ambitious economic program which I indeed welcome," he said. "I'm confident that the eurogroup, the euro area member states, will today endorse this program and I'm recommending to the eurograoup today to activate the [aid] mechanism."

The aid deal comes after weeks of negotiations. Eurozone member Germany has been particularly reluctant to endorse an agreement without further austerity measures from Athens.

In Greece, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets Saturday to register their unhappiness with the belt tightening. Greek unions have called for a national strike on Wednesday.

The Greek government says it has no other choice but to cut spending, faced with the country's skyrocketing public debt and deficit. Last week, ratings agencies downgraded Greece's ratings to junk status.

You May Like

Obama Pledges 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Burials

Country is improving at rapid response to remote, isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace Christmas precisely because of its non-religious glamor and commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid