News / Europe

Greek Cabinet Mulls Austerity Mandates

Riot police secure the entrance to the German Embassy during an anti-austerity protest in Athens, February 17, 2012.
Riot police secure the entrance to the German Embassy during an anti-austerity protest in Athens, February 17, 2012.

Greek cabinet members are discussing how best to implement a series of budget cuts and other austerity measures that have already sparked rioting in the streets.

The officials gathered Saturday in Athens, facing several difficult choices.  

The austerity measures are needed in order to secure a $170 billion bailout from the European Union and again prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt.  But ministers are also expressing concerns about just how much more the Greek people can take.

Civil Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis told reporters, "the Greek people have done what they could. We have gone above and beyond and done more than the system can stand."

He also said Greece would honor its commitments, but also appealed for understanding from other European leaders.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate George Papaconstantiunou also expressed concerns, saying, "getting out of the crisis is much more than just austerity. It's about growth.''

Papaconstantiunou said Cabinet members expected to approve what he described as two big growth projects, including a plan to export solar energy.

European leaders say the $170 billion bailout for Greece will likely be approved Monday at a meeting in Brussels.

But concern for the plight of the Greek people appears to be growing.

In Paris, more than 1,000 people rallied to show solidarity with Greece.  One protester who gave her name only as Maria said it was shameful the way the EU was treating Greece.

She said, "I am very angry. I would like all European people to realize what is coming up. Today it's Greece's turn, tomorrow it will be Spain's turn and the day after it will be France's turn.''

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, after conferring Friday with Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos on a conference call,  said they are confident that a Greek rescue deal can be reached.  

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that France and Germany, Europe's two biggest economies, agree that Greece must be supported to avoid default.

Greece is still working out some details of the bailout, the country's second in two years, with its international creditors.  Last weekend, Greek lawmakers complied with the far-reaching demands of the lenders to impose more austerity measures on top of earlier ones despite violent protests in the streets of Athens.

The austerity measures have imposed hardship on many Greeks as the country has cut social spending, trimmed the country's minimum wage and agreed to eliminate thousands of government jobs.  

The government says it needs the bailout to avoid defaulting next month on $19 billion in financial obligations.  As part of its rescue, Greece is also completing negotiations with large financial institutions to cut in half the debt it owes them, a $132-billion reduction.

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

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid