News / Economy

Striking Greek Workers Protest New Austerity Cuts

Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (file photo)
Greece's Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos (file photo)

Striking Greek transport workers brought Athens to a standstill Thursday in a new protest against austerity measures imposed by the government to secure international financing for the debt-ridden country.

Public transport workers and taxi drivers walked off their jobs, as well as air traffic controllers and teachers. Some newspapers also reacted angrily to the demands of the country's international creditors that the government impose more spending cuts, with one saying that civil servants and pensioners had been placed on a "sacrificial altar" and another saying it was "a merciless raid" on the country.

An Athens business leader, Constantinos Michalos said Greece is being turned into a "poverty house" by the series of budget cuts and tax increases the government has imposed in an attempt to end its years of deficit spending and cut its debt.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos called the country's financial plight "extremely critical," but he said Greece must adhere to its austerity plan in order to secure new funding from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank and avoid a default next month.

The EU's economic commissioner, Olli Rehn, pledged that Greece's European neighbors would not abandon it. He said that "an uncontrolled default" by Greece or the country's departure from the bloc of 17 nations that use the common euro currency would cause "enormous economic and social damage."

The eurozone faces other problems aside from Greece. The financial research group Markit said Thursday business activity in the eurozone contracted this month to a 25-month low, and that further deterioration was likely in the coming months.

But Ireland provided one ray of positive economic news. Like Greece and Portugal, Ireland also needed an international bailout, but Dublin said its national economy expanded by 1.6 percent in the April-to-June period, following a slightly larger expansion in the first three months of the year.

In its latest austerity plan, Greece said Wednesday it will increase the number of civil servants receiving only 60 percent of their normal salaries, cut pensions for some retirees and trim the tax-free portion of wages for low-income workers.

The country's international creditors funding last year's $159 billion bailout are demanding the new round of $8 billion in austerity measures, on top of earlier tax increases and spending cuts.

Greece is mired in a three-year recession and has been hard-pressed to meet the terms of the bailout. It could run out of money in October - and default on its obligations - if the IMF, the  EU and the continent's central bank do not release an $11 billion portion of last year's bailout.  

The Greek economy will be discussed at the annual IMF meeting in Washington starting Friday.

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

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8033
JPY
USD
117.19
GBP
USD
0.6372
CAD
USD
1.1634
INR
USD
63.622

Rates may not be current.