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: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs