News / Europe

Europe Demands Stringent Greek Acceptance of Austerity Plan

Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos attends a Eurogroup meeting at the European Union council headquarters in Brussels February 9, 2012.
Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos attends a Eurogroup meeting at the European Union council headquarters in Brussels February 9, 2012.

European leaders are voicing skepticism that Greece's new austerity plan will put the country on a secure economic footing and are demanding that new spending cuts be identified before they will hand the Athens government another bailout.

German finance chief Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin on Friday that the budget cuts Greece has pledged to impose would still leave the country with substantial debt - 136 percent of the country's annual economic output by 2020, well above the 120 percent figure the continent's leaders have targeted.

The finance ministers from the 17-nation bloc that uses the euro currency discussed Greece's austerity plan in Brussels on Thursday, but said they were not satisfied with it. Greece says it will trim its minimum wage by 22 percent and eliminate 15,000 government jobs. But the chief of the finance ministers, Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said the Greek parliament needs to quickly approve the plan on Sunday and called for the country to pinpoint $432 million of the spending cuts it says it will impose.

"Despite the important progress achieved over the last days, we did not yet have all necessary elements on the table to take decisions today," said Juncker. "Firstly, the Greek parliament should approve on Sunday the policy package agreed between Greece and the troika.  Secondly, additional structural expenditure reductions of 325 million euros in 2012 should be rapidly identified in order to ensure that the deficit target is achieved."  

Juncker warned that Greece would not get a new $172 billion bailout, its second in two years, until it enacts the austerity plan. Greek workers have repeatedly taken to the streets of Athens, and did so again on Friday, to protest spending cuts and higher taxes that European leaders have insisted the country impose.

"No disbursement before implementation because we cannot live with a system where promises are made and repeated, and repeated, and where the implementation measures are, from time to time, too weak, so we are insisting on a real, true implementation," he said.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said his country has no choice but to accede to the European demands.

"Our choice is one of humiliation for a historic and proud country, or even greater humiliation which it will face if we act under the illusion of saving face with decisions that will have a much greater social cost," said Venizelos. "The era of populism and delusion is over. We must make decisions."

In addition to seeking approval for the new bailout, Greece is seeking to cut in half the debt it owes large financial institutions - a $132 billion reduction. Greece says it needs both the debt relief and the new bailout to avoid defaulting on $19 billion in bond payments next month.

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

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do '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 Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to 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 holiday due to its non-religious glamor, 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