News / Europe

Greece Might Get 2nd Bailout

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A top European Central Bank official says Greece could receive a second bailout to avert a possible default on June 29th, when the government's next debt payment comes due.  Central Bank board member Lorenzo Bini Smaghi tells the Financial Times that Greece could get another $28 billion from eurozone countries.  But, any additional aid would require more belt-tightening by Greeks - even as anger over the government's unpopular austerity measures is growing.

Thousands of Greeks filled Athens' central square for the fifth day of protests against austerity measures that have slashed public sector wages and pensions.

Protesters banged pots and pans - and accused the Greek government of stealing worker's money.

"We are paying for the mistakes of past governments and generations and it's not our fault," said a woman. "We believe that, if we all stand united, we can send a message that we can help society to change and the establishment will not have its way."

But with government debt equivalent to about 150 percent of its yearly economic output, Greece remains in danger of defaulting on its commitments - despite a multi billion dollar rescue package from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou vows to push forward with cost-cutting measures, despite strong opposition.

"Whether there is consensus or not, we will take our decisions, we will move forward with constructively implementing a program which is difficult and painful, but is a safe and sure road to exiting the debt crisis," said Papandreou. "That is what we are doing and that is what we will continue to do."

The IMF says it backs the Greek government's efforts but says adjustments are likely following the institution's next review.

Reports say European finance ministers and the IMF have scheduled emergency talks with Greece to discuss options.  Those include the possibility of additional aid and new austerity measures, such as the sale of government property.

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