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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs