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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid