News / Europe

Greece to Seek Delay in Austerity Measures

A man checks announcements outside an unemployment bureau in Athens, Greece, August 9, 2012.
A man checks announcements outside an unemployment bureau in Athens, Greece, August 9, 2012.
VOA News
With its economy crumbling, Greece has decided to ask its European neighbors for a two-year extension to 2016 to carry out its latest austerity program.

New Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras plans to travel to Paris and Berlin next week to meet with French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to present Greece's case for a delay in the spending cuts it previously had agreed to. Berlin said Wednesday it would listen to the Greek leader's plea, but remains firm in keeping to the agreement.

Greece - now in the fifth year of a severe recession and with 23 percent of its workers unemployed - has several times narrowly staved off default on its loans. But it is struggling to produce $14 billion in new spending cuts demanded by its international lenders and is faced with new debt payments next month. The country's creditors have demanded the austerity measures in exchange for release of more money from Greece's latest bailout, its second in two years.

Jobless Greek workers - like train engineer Vassilis Tsimbidis - say their plight seems hopeless.

"Because of the general crisis, the state of our sector and the end of industry in our country, I don't think there are any prospects for me beyond the Skaramangas Shipyard, in another country. Personally, if I didn't have family commitments, I would already have left for Northern Europe," said Tsimbidis.

An unemployed Athens worker, Constantinos Manolis, says any thought of building a career will have to wait.

"For starters, a job just to get by, whatever it may be. Whatever? My dreams for a career? That's difficult for now," said Manolis.

One international finance expert, Andreas Hauskrecht of the Indiana University business school, said that he thinks Greece will soon default and be the first country to leave the 17-nation euro currency union.

"I think that a default within the next three months is very likely," said the expert.

Hauskrecht says that while Greece's neighbors may have at one time been determined to help it stay in the eurozone because it is part of the European Union, the continent's economic plight has weakened European support for more aid to Greece.

"While this sounds very reasonable and very romantic, I don't think that you will find the voters to support that. We see that also in other European countries economic growth is declining rapidly. We see Europe already close to a recession and pretty sure that Europe either has already or will very soon enter recession. There is nothing to distribute in a recession and willingness to support the Greeks will further diminish," said Hauskrecht.

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

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid