News / Europe

Greek Parliament Debates Austerity Amid Nationwide Strikes

Selah Hennessy
Greek protestors gather in front of the parliament in Syntagma square during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens, November 7, 2012.Greek protestors gather in front of the parliament in Syntagma square during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens, November 7, 2012.
x
Greek protestors gather in front of the parliament in Syntagma square during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens, November 7, 2012.
Greek protestors gather in front of the parliament in Syntagma square during a 48-hour strike by the two major Greek workers unions in central Athens, November 7, 2012.
Greek politicians are debating a fresh round of spending cuts and tax hikes, as the country faces a second day of nationwide strikes against the austerity measures.

If parliament passes the austerity package, Greece will be in line to receive around $40 billion in aid from its international lenders. Without the international loans, Greece could default on debt due to be paid later this month.

But there are deep divisions, within Greece and in parliament, over whether the austerity measures are the right move forward. Along with spending cuts and tax hikes, the plan  includes changes to labor laws, making it easier for businesses to hire and fire workers.

Many in Greece say more tax hikes and spending cuts will bring the Greek people to their knees. Members of the smallest party in the country's conservative-liberal coalition have opposed the measures, as has the leftist opposition.

Parliament Member Zoe Kostantopoulou from the left-wing anti-bailout party Syriza spoke during Wednesday’s parliamentary debate.

She said the bill has come to parliament as blackmail, in a fast-track process, with the government asking lawmakers to vote either yes or no, without having read it, without examining it, and without allowing it to be discussed. She said it is an insult to the democratic process.

But Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is expected to narrowly win support for the controversial measures.

That will be bad news for protesters who gathered on the streets of Athens for the second day of protests against further austerity. Public transport, schools, banks and government offices remain shut down.

Elsewhere in Europe, there was more bad news as the European Union forecast a much sharper economic slowdown on the continent than had previously been predicted. The European Commission said growth in the eurozone in 2013 will be as little as 0.1 percent, instead of the earlier prediction of one percent.

A director at wealth-management firm Integral Asset Management, Nick Dewhirst, said  Greece and some other eurozone countries will not be able to stay in the monetary union for long. He said Greece should make a swift exit and work on rebuilding its economy with the old Greek currency, the drachma.

“We have been building up to the likelihood of this," he said. "At what point actually the great eruption happens, that is incredibly difficult to predict. One must never underestimate the ability of politicians to delay the inevitable.”

Prime Minister Samaras has said the latest package will be the last cuts to wages and pensions.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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.
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 US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid