News / Europe

Greece, Spain Seek More Austerity

Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras makes statements after a meeting with Greece's PM Antonis Samaras and the heads of the two junior coalition parties in Athens, Sept. 27, 2012. Stournaras says the heads of the three parties in the governing coal
Greece's Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras makes statements after a meeting with Greece's PM Antonis Samaras and the heads of the two junior coalition parties in Athens, Sept. 27, 2012. Stournaras says the heads of the three parties in the governing coal
VOA News
Greek and Spanish leaders are advancing new austerity measures, while their countrymen protest the budget-cutting in the streets of Athens and Madrid.

After weeks of negotiation, Greece's three-party coalition government said Thursday it has reached agreement on a $15-billion plan for more pension and salary cuts, and raising the retirement age for workers from 65 to 67.  Greece's international lenders had demanded the new austerity package in exchange for releasing another segment of the country's second bailout in the past two years.

One of the coalition's junior partners, Fotis Kouvelis of the Democratic Left party, said Greece will attempt to win approval from the lenders to pay back its debts over a longer period of time.

"There was an agreement on basic elements, there are still some issues to be decided on," said Kouvelis.  "We will ask for a four-year extension of the program, and of course we will ask for safeguards against some measures that are meant to increase our revenues."

In Madrid, the Spanish government unveiled a $51-billion austerity plan for next year that would cut spending, boost taxes and restrict early retirements in the country's workforce.

Wednesday, thousands of protesters filled the streets of Athens and Madrid to vent their anger at the governments' repeated efforts to trim salaries, pensions and popular social programs.  In both capitals, riot police clashed with demonstrators.

Nearly a quarter of Spaniards are unemployed.  The jobless rate is only slightly better in Greece.  Uncertainty about the economies in both countries has sent borrowing costs soaring for the Spanish and Greek governments.  Spain's finance ministry also reported Wednesday that the country is sinking deeper into recession.

Budget crises have already forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to secure international bailouts, and analysts say the Spanish government could be next, joining its banking system in seeking a rescue package.

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

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
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 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