News / Europe

Eurozone Ministers Approve Greek Bailout Deal

A man walks next to a kiosk selling Greek flags in Athens, February 21, 2012, the same day eurozone finance ministers approved a $172 billion bailout deal to help the debt-laden country avert default.
A man walks next to a kiosk selling Greek flags in Athens, February 21, 2012, the same day eurozone finance ministers approved a $172 billion bailout deal to help the debt-laden country avert default.

After talks that lasted through the night, eurozone finance ministers finally struck a $172 billion bailout agreement for Greece early Tuesday. The deal averts a debt default by Athens, but also demands Greeks to shoulder more austerity measures.

Related video report by Mil Arcega

After 13 hours of negotiations, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced success at a news conference early Tuesday in Brussels.

"We have reached a far-reaching agreement on Greece's new program and private-sector involvement that will lead to a very significant debt reduction for Greece and pave the way toward an unprecedented new amount of official financing being provided by the EFSF [the EU's bailout fund] to secure Greece's future in the euro area," said Juncker.

New Greek Austerity Measures
Greece's government has approved several rounds of austerity measures in hope of securing a new eurozone bailout. Some of the measures still require further legislation in Greece:

  • Pass a budget including spending cuts equal to 1.5% of the gross domestic product, or $4.37 billion.
  • Reduce the minimum wage by 22%; by 32% for those under the age of 25.
  • Reduce the state work force by 15,000 within one year.
  • Hire only one new civil servant for every five who retire.

The deal gives Greece its long-awaited installment of bailout money, allowing it to make debt repayments due on March 20. More broadly, it averts a larger crisis sweeping through the 17-nation currency zone if Greece leaves it.

The agreement would see Greece slice its debt to about 120 percent of its gross domestic product by 2020 - compared to 160 percent today. Private investors would take greater losses than anticipated of 53.5 percent of the face value of their bonds. And, Greeks, who have been out protesting months of belt-tightening measures, will face more government spending cuts.
Still, officials like International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, praise the agreement for turning the Greek economy around in the long haul.

"The combination of this significant effort plus the ambitious program with a clear focus on competitiveness should really give enough space for Greece to restore its competitiveness to improve its debt sustainability, and to demonstrate that with good and solid and rigorous implementation checked on a regular basis by the various partners associated with the program, it can get back on track," said Lagarde.

Lagarde says the IMF will discuss the Greek package during the second week of March.

Eurozone ministers also discussed a new, larger and permanent bailout fund, aimed at strengthening the firewall around countries that get into financial trouble. Juncker says European heads of state would likely take up the issue when they meet in early March.


You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid