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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid