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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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