News / Europe

Greece Says It Will Hold Vote on European Debt Relief Plan

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou , Oct 31, 2011
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou , Oct 31, 2011

The European debt-relief plan, agreed to last week, has been thrown into doubt as Greece now says it will hold a referendum on whether to approve it.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has been a staunch supporter of the plan that could cut Greece's debt by about $140 billion, while binding his country to years of austerity measures. But Mr. Papandreou told ruling Socialist party members in Parliament Monday that the "command of the Greek people will bind us." He said if the Greek people do not want it, the plan will not be adopted.

European and world leaders have praised the adoption of the plan aimed at cutting Greek debt and calming world financial markets worried about a Greek default. The agreement also forces European banks to increase their cash reserves and boosts the continent's bailout fund for future financial emergencies.

But the Greek people for months have recoiled at the tax increases and spending cuts the Athens government has been forced to adopt to satisfy its international creditors. They have staged repeated strikes in protest, some of them violent.

One Greek survey showed 60 percent of those questioned took a negative view of the Brussels agreement, reached in the middle of the night last Thursday. Until Monday, there had been no suggestion of a referendum on the plan.

The Greek leader's call for a referendum came as new reports in Europe show that the economic fortunes of the 17 eurozone nations are markedly weakening, with higher unemployment and diminished growth prospects for 2012.

The continent's Eurostat statistics agency reported that the unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent in September, an 11-month high. That left more than 16 million people out of work, the biggest number in the 13 years the agency has kept records.

Financially troubled Spain had Europe's highest jobless rate, more than 22 percent, and Austria the lowest, just under 4 percent.

Meanwhile, the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicted that collectively the economies of the bloc of countries that use the euro will virtually stall in 2012, with some of them sliding into a recession. The agency projected growth of only three-tenths of one percent, less than a sixth of the 2 percent growth that was projected just five months ago.

The OECD said there would be "patches of mild negative growth" in some eurozone nations.

Eurostat said the inflation rate for the bloc of nations that use the euro currency held steady at a 3 percent annual rate in October, the highest figure in three years.

OECD praised European leaders for adopting last week's debt-relief plan.  But it said details of its implementation should be quickly made public to reassure world financial markets.  The agency said European economic growth could be better than expected if the debt plan proves to be successful.

Japan said Monday it would continue to buy European government bonds.  But, like China last week, Japan stopped short of saying it would invest in the eurozone's expanded bailout fund to aid debt-ridden countries in the future.

The OECD, which promotes economic growth, said U.S. economic prospects are weak as well, echoing projections made by key American finance officials.  The agency projected that the world's largest economy would advance a sluggish 1.8 percent next year, down from the 3.1 percent figure it predicted last May.

The agency released its report three days ahead of the Group of 20 meeting in Cannes, France, grouping leaders from the world's industrial and developing nations.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid