News / Europe

Europe Finance Ministers Set to Approve New Greek Bailout

A shoe shiner tries to keep warm next to an hourglass graffiti in Athens, Greece, Feb. 20, 2012.
A shoe shiner tries to keep warm next to an hourglass graffiti in Athens, Greece, Feb. 20, 2012.

Eurozone finance ministers are set to approve a new $171-billion bailout for Greece, at a meeting in Brussels.

French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said Monday that after months of negotiations over terms of the deal for debt-ridden Greece, an agreement is in sight for the country's second bailout in two years.

"We have all the elements for an agreement," said Baroin. "From now on, the elements of a voluntary participation of the banks, of the private creditors and of the public creditors - the states, the central banks - are fully in place."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday Greece has adopted a very strong and difficult package of reforms that deserves the international community's support.  He said the United States encourages the International Monetary Fund to support the loan for Greece.

The Greek government has approved austerity measures that include a 22-percent cut in the country's minimum wage and the elimination of 15,000 government jobs.  Greece said without the bailout, it would not be able to pay investors $19 billion in debt when government bonds come due next month.

Video of austerity protests in Greece

The government is also nearing completion of negotiations to at least cut in half the debt it owes private creditors - a $131-billion reduction.  However, even as the finance ministers pored over details of the bailout, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos renewed talks with the private creditors to seek an even bigger write-down of Greece's debt.

As the meeting of the finance chiefs started in Brussels, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees De Jager said he remained unconvinced Greece could meet its austerity commitments.  He called for an unprecedented permanent presence in Athens for Greece's international creditors to oversee the country's spending.

Analysts have warned that if Greece defaulted next month, it could have catastrophic consequences for the eurozone, and possibly lead to a sharp downturn in the world economy.  It was an argument that eventually pointed to agreement for the new bailout.

Even as the Greek government has complied with the international demands for more austerity, the country's workers have repeatedly taken to the streets in opposition.  

Millions of Greeks complain that they have already sacrificed enough, saying they do not know how they will cope when their salaries and benefits are slashed.  One Greek housewife, Panagiota Petraki, says she does not see better times ahead for her homeland.

"I don't see light on the horizon," said Petraki. "Unfortunately no matter how many loans we receive, if we don't stand on our own two feet we will never see a recovery in Greece."

Greece is mired in the fifth year of a severe recession.  Retired teacher Michalis Vikendios says the country's fortunes will not improve until the economy does.

"Even if they cut all pensions, all benefits for the unemployed, and disabled people, the problem will not be solved," said  Vikendios. "It's a dead end.  No matter how much money we get if commerce doesn't start working, if they don't write down debt, we will never exit the crisis.''

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

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs