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)
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.