News

Greek Parliament Agrees on Bailout Deal

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos (L) speaks with newly appointed Finance minister Philippos Sachinidis in Athens on March 21, 2012.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos (L) speaks with newly appointed Finance minister Philippos Sachinidis in Athens on March 21, 2012.

Greece's Parliament early Wednesday approved a new international bailout deal worth $170 billion. Analysts warn that the road ahead for Greece will be a tough one.

The loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund will be disbursed over the next few years.

Greek health workers are disrupting state hospital services in a renewed protest against the government's austerity measures and delays in receiving their paychecks.

Doctors and staff walked off the job for several hours Wednesday and engaged in a work slowdown. They demanded the government pay them for their overtime work from the last four months.

The health care workers also protested spending cuts the government has imposed in order to secure a new international bailout and debt relief.

They are dependent on major cuts in spending, including lowering the minimum wage, pensions and benefits. Authorities are also to make severe cuts to the country's health service.

Lawmakers voted 213 out of 300 in favor of the new deal.

Spiros Economides from the London School of Economics says lawmakers had little alternative but to press forward with the agreement.

But he says increased austerity will be difficult in a country that is already suffering. "You see rising unemployment across the board. There are of course greater degrees of poverty, especially in urban areas, and the middle class is the one that is suffering the most because of a pinch in both its salary and its pension. And so there is a great degree of economic dislocation in Greece," he said.

On Wednesday, hospital staff in the greater Athens area staged protests against cuts and pay delays, walking off the job for several hours.

Economides says austerity must be coupled with measures that will spur growth in Greece. Otherwise, he says, the structural problems in the Greek economy will not be overcome.  "I think what Greece is crying out for, and I think what really needs to be taken very seriously in the next six months, is not only the austerity measures but what other measures can be put in place to help the Greek economy to develop, to help it to become more competitive, to get liquidity into the market, to get business growing, to actually get some activity into the Greek economy," he said.

Jane Foley, a senior currency strategist in London at Rabobank International, says the markets are not convinced that, even with this second bailout, the Greek economy will be able to overcome its woes.

There is some speculation, she says, that a third bailout will be needed in 2013. "There is also the possibility that if Greece continues to fail to meet its targets that the eurozone authorities may tire of this behavior, and there is some speculation still that Greece may ultimately find itself out of the eurozone system," she said.

But she says the bailout is important for Europe. By providing funds to Greece, the European Central Bank has helped other European economies. "The ECB has certainly been very successful in calming the tensions in the eurozone over the past few months, that of course with providing huge amounts of liquidity. Certainly the debt auctions of countries like Spain and Italy have been far more successful this year because of the huge amount of liquidity that has been provided by the ECB, the European Central Bank," she said.

On Wednesday, the Greek government appointed a new finance minister. Deputy Finance Minister Filippos Sachinidis replaces Evangelos Venizelos, who resigned to lead the Socialist Party at general elections that are expected in the coming months.

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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs