News / Europe

Greek Parliament Adopts Austerity Plan After Day of Protests

A protester looks at a petrol bomb before throwing it at Athens' main Syntagma Square, during violent demonstrations, October. 20, 2011.
A protester looks at a petrol bomb before throwing it at Athens' main Syntagma Square, during violent demonstrations, October. 20, 2011.

The Greek Parliament adopted new austerity measures Thursday to satisfy its international creditors after a day of violent street protests against the government's latest move to boost taxes and cut wages.

All but one of the ruling Socialist lawmakers voted for the budget-cutting plan. The vote virtually ensures that Greece will secure an $11 billion segment of its $159 billion bailout from last year and avoid a default next month on its international loans.

But even as Greece moved to help itself, efforts to resolve Europe's cascading debt crisis fell into disarray. European leaders are set for a summit in Brussels on Sunday. But late Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy called a second summit for next Wednesday after it became clear the leaders of Europe's two biggest economies could not reach agreement on a comprehensive debt plan in time for the weekend gathering.

The German and French leaders said they would meet Saturday to prepare what they called a "global and ambitious answer" to the debt crisis engulfing the 17-nation bloc that uses the common euro currency and for weeks has roiled international financial markets.  Merkel and Sarkozy said they would seek to strengthen the continent's bailout fund, boost funding for banks and reinforce "economic integration" throughout the eurozone.

They said all aspects of the debt contagion would be "profoundly examined" at the Sunday summit, with adoption of a plan no later than Wednesday.

The Greek vote came after hours of violent anti-austerity protests in Athens.

At least 50,000 mostly peaceful, anti-austerity protesters gathered in Syntagma Square outside parliament on the second day of a nationwide general strike that idled a vast swath of Greek commerce and government services.

But the scene turned chaotic as some clashed with police, and violent protesters hurled fire bombs and stones at rival demonstrators. Protesters and masked youths armed with clubs fought each other as riot police fired tear gas volleys in an attempt to restore order. The government said one demonstrator died of a heart attack Thursday, while dozens of protesters have been injured in the last two days.

The hugely unpopular austerity plan will increase taxes and eventually eliminate 30,000 government jobs. Greece's international creditors had demanded passage of the austerity plan in exchange for release of the 2010 bailout funds.

The creditors - the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank - say the money should be released to Greece as soon as possible. But a draft of their report approving the funding also said the debt-ridden country's finances are "extremely worrying" and that its economic downturn is far worse than just a few months ago.

The creditors said that a second Greek bailout approved in July may not be big enough to save the country from bankruptcy.

European leaders are considering several ways to end the crisis, possibly increasing the eurozone's $596 billion bailout fund for debt-ridden governments to as much as $2 trillion. They are also looking for ways to stabilize the bloc's banks even as they are forced to assume bigger losses on the Greek loans they hold.

Greece's economy is mired in the third year of a recession. The country's jobless rate hit 16.5 percent in July, just below the record set in May. But aside from assisting Greece, European leaders are worried about the spread of the debt crisis to other countries, especially Spain and Italy.

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

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
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 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 Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
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.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid