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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.