22 January 2018

Greeks and Money and Debt – In the News

Greeks and Money and Debt – In the News

One financial alternative that is never discussed during these crisis budget discussions is the defaulting on debt. Cities and State will cut basic social services at the risk of social endangerment before defaulting on debt. Debt, along with its handmaiden Legal Tender, is sacrosanct. This is not the first time Greece has had issues with debt. Solon literally pulled down the pillars of debt around 600 BC, aka Shaking Off of Burdens, a wise lawgiver indeed.

Greece bailout protesters storm ministry in strike dispute
10 Jan 2018
Angry trade unionists in Greece stormed the labor ministry and confronted the minister over plans to tighten the rules on strikes. About 500 protesters from burst into the ministry after breaking open metal shutters with crowbars. The protesters chanted "We won't yield to plutocracy!" Curbs on strikes are among conditions set for Greece to exit its bailout. Austerity imposed by the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) creditors has caused enormous hardship for millions of Greeks, after spending on social security, education and healthcare was cut sharply. Burdened with colossal state debts, Greece has been on an economic lifeline since 2010. It has received more than €250bn (£221bn; $298bn) in bailout payments.

Greeks walk out in general strike over cuts
17 May 2017
Hospitals, transport services and government offices across Greece have been severely affected by a general strike over new austerity measures. Industrial action began on Tuesday but has now been ramped up nationally by members of the big trade unions. Ferry services stopped and buses and trains were limited. Doctors and other hospital workers walked out - and hospitals limited services to emergencies only. Trains, buses and trams were providing only limited services for some hours of the day. Civil servants, court officials and teachers were all involved. Police and other security forces were expected to join a protest late in the afternoon

MPs are set to vote on controversial reforms on Thursday that will cut pensions and end tax breaks. The new austerity measures will not come into force until 2019 and 2020 but Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has to persuade eurozone finance ministers next Monday to provide the next loan instalment of €7.5bn (£6.4bn; $8.2bn) due in July. The country has fallen back into recession for the first time since 2012.

Greek economy shrinks between October and December
14 Feb 2017
The Greek economy unexpectedly shrank in the three months to December. Analysts had been expecting the growth to continue. The country is in the throes of difficult bailout talks with international creditors as fears grow that the debt crisis could resurface. The country is under pressure to step up economic reforms, including pension cuts and tax rises. The International Monetary Fund argued that "Greece should deepen and accelerate reforms to allow the economy to return to a sustainable growth path".

Why is Greece back in the headlines?
08 Feb 2017
Greece is due to make its debt repayments in July. To make those payments, Greece will need the next payment of its current (third) bailout. The IMF has said: "Greece cannot grow out of its debt problem. Greece requires substantial debt relief from its European partners to restore debt sustainability." The IMF says Greece's debt burden could become "explosive".

Eurozone suspends Greek debt-relief plan
14 Dec 2016

Eurozone lenders to Greece have suspended their recently agreed debt-relief plan for Greece. The lenders are unhappy that the Greek government is planning to spend €617m (£517m) on giving poor state pensioners a pre-Christmas bonus. The Greek government announced its bonus for poor pensioners without consulting the eurozone representatives.

Greek debt burden eased by creditors
05 Dec 20
Greece has won some relief from its debt burden following the latest talks with eurozone finance ministers. Greece has needed three bailouts since 2010 and relies on credit from international bodies to avoid bankruptcy. It is not a reduction in the value of the outstanding debt. That has been ruled out many times by the eurozone. It would be politically toxic back home for the likes of Germany. The relief comes in the shape of lower interest rates and longer repayment periods. The IMF wants a reduction in the face value of Greek debt, but that is opposed by European ministers and, in particular, Germany.

Greek police use tear gas on pensioners at anti-austerity protest
03 Oct 2016
Police in Greece have used tear gas on pensioners who were protesting against cuts to their income from the state. Due to austerity reforms, pensions in Greece have been cut repeatedly and they are now worth 25-55% less than they were before the economic crisis. Nearly half of pensioners now have a monthly income below the official poverty line. Alexis Tsipras's government has to make more than €1bn ($1.12bn) in savings through pension reforms under the terms of a bailout from international lenders.

Greece bailout: MPs approve new cuts to unblock bailout funds
22 May 2016
The Greek parliament has passed new budget cuts and tax rises two days before a eurozone meeting expected to unblock much-needed bailout funds. The bill also creates a state privatization fund requested by its eurozone finance ministers. Greece is trying to negotiate new aid for a debt payment of €3.5bn due in two months' time. Demonstrators gathered outside parliament on Sunday to protest against the new legislation. As protesters demonstrated in Athens, a public transport strike continued in protest at the reforms.

Greek PM defends pension and tax reform
08 May 2016
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has defended controversial new pension and tax reforms approved by parliament. The measures are needed to unlock further international bailout money, to be discussed at a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on Monday. But they are deeply unpopular with Greek anti-austerity campaigners and trade unions.

Greece hit by general strike over pension and tax change
06 May 2016
Greeks have begun a three-day general strike in protest at further austerity measures that are being proposed in return for more bailout money. Shipping, public transport and civil service departments were among sectors hit in a bid to stop the introduction of tax and pension changes.  The sudden 48-hour strike on Friday and Saturday was called in addition to action previously planned for Sunday. Unions said a proposed overhaul of the pensions system and rises in social security contributions were designed to win favor with Eurozone finance ministers, who are due to discuss Greece's bailout money on Monday. The next tranche of about €5bn (£4bn) is overdue, after talks with Greece's international lenders faltered over the pace of reforms.

EU rejects Greek request for emergency summit
27 Apr 2016
The head of the European Union has rejected Greece's request for an emergency meeting aimed at ending an impasse over the country's bailout. Greece agreed to a third rescue package worth $94bn last year and faces a looming debt payment. However, it has been unable to unlock the next loan instalment after clashing with its creditors over more reforms. The International Monetary Fund and other European partners are demanding that Greece implement further austerity measures. The left-wing government led by Alexis Tsipras has said it will not agree to any "additional actions" to what it had already signed up to last summer. There are worries that Greece may default on €3.5bn in debt payments due in July if an agreement is not reached soon. Athens has faced stiff resistance from voters to the austerity measures, which include politically charged changes to its pension and tax system.

Greeks stage 'necktie revolt' in fight for their pensions
05 Feb 2016
Much of Greece ground to a halt on Thursday in a general strike billed the biggest yet by trade union leaders. Schools stayed closed, some hospitals were reduced to emergency services. Farmers have threatened to make the paralysis permanent with road blocks across motorways and border crossings if the leftist Syriza government does not scrap its pension reform program. The strike galvanized white-collar workers, and some referred to the protest as "the necktie revolution". On the fringes of a peaceful march of 40,000 people on the parliament in Athens, masked youths taunted riot police with petrol bombs, and police responded with teargas. Within earshot of the Athens demonstration, a negotiating team from the "quartet" - the European Commission, IMF, European Stability Mechanism and European Central Bank - held tense negotiations, first with the finance ministry, then the labor ministry. The quartet are in Athens to review the fiscal measures required to keep payments on track.

Greece secures deal on next portion of bailout cash
17 Nov 2015

Greece has secured a tentative deal with the eurozone to unlock the latest tranche of financial aid. The two sides have agreed a batch of reforms that will be presented to the Greek Parliament on Thursday. The agreement will help pave the way for further payments under the country's third bailout. The eurozone has agreed to provide Greece with up to €86bn in total. The next payment had been held up by differences between the two sides over protection from repossession for home owners in arrears with their mortgages and about reforms to the banks. These and other issues have now apparently been resolved although Greece still has work to do to put the measures it has agreed into effect.

Greek debt crisis: Clashes during austerity strike
12 Nov 2015

Greek workers are staging their first general strike against austerity since Alexis Tsipras's left-wing Syriza government came to power in January. Brief clashes were reported in Athens, as youths broke away from the main protest near parliament. The main unions appealed for members to walk out against the terms of Greece's third eurozone bailout. The government agreed to push through tax rises and spending cuts in return for €86bn (£60bn) in rescue loans. MPs have already voted to raise the retirement age and get rid of most early retirement benefits. In Athens, reports said dozens of young people dressed in black threw petrol bombs and broke shop windows near the main parliamentary building in Syntagma Square. Small fires were also seen at the entrance to the Bank of Greece headquarters. Police then responded with tear gas. Metro, ferry and suburban rail services were shut down, schools were closed and hospitals had only emergency staff levels. Buses and trolley buses were providing limited services.

Greece election: Alexis Tsipras hails 'victory of the people'
21 Sep 2015
Greece's Alexis Tsipras has said his left-wing Syriza party has a "clear mandate" after winning a second general election in less than nine months. Syriza won just over 35%, New Democracy gained 28%, Far-right Golden Dawn came in third with 7%, slightly up on January's poll. Syriza was first elected in January on an anti-austerity mandate, but was forced to accept tough conditions for Greece's third international bailout. Sunday's snap election was called after Mr Tsipras lost his majority in August.  The celebrations of Syriza supporters last night have now given way to the harsh reality their re-elected government must face. It has agreed to tough austerity measures insisted on by the IMF and European Union, and now these must be implemented - cuts to pensions, rises in taxes and an end to some of the regulation and financial allowances that have kept many professions protected. Farmers have already been readying their tractors for road blockades; some of the unemployed are contemplating their own protests. The new government's honeymoon will be a short one.

Greek bank shares continue to fall

Greek bank shares have fallen sharply for a second day in Athens. The Athens General Index closed down about 1.2%. On Monday, the share index had dropped 16% on the first day of trading after a five-week shutdown. Major banks were close to the maximum 30% declines they are allowed in one day, a limit that was hit on Monday. During the height of the Greek debt crisis, the stock exchange was closed for five weeks as part of the program of capital controls to prevent people taking euros out of the country. Greek investors are still not allowed to use money in their bank accounts to trade on the stock exchange.

Greek debt crisis: 2bn euro arrears repaid to IMF
20 Jul 2015
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed that Greece has cleared overdue debt repayments of €2.05bn (£1.4bn) and is no longer in arrears. The repayments, and another for €4.2bn to the European Central Bank (ECB) due on Monday, came after the EU made Greece a short-term loan of €7bn. Cash-strapped Greece missed one repayment to the IMF in June and another earlier this month. The crisis brought Greece to the brink of economic collapse and an exit from the euro. Earlier on Monday, Greek banks reopened after being closed for three weeks. For the past three weeks, Greeks have been waiting in line at cash machines to withdraw a maximum of €60 (£41) a day, a restriction imposed amid fear of a run on the banks. From Monday, the daily limit becomes a weekly one capped at €420 (£291), meaning Greeks will not have to queue every day. However, a block on transfers to foreign banks and a ban on cashing cheques remain in place.

Greece debt crisis: Tsipras says voters made "brave choice"
05 Jun 2015
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that the Greeks made a "brave choice" in voting to reject the terms of an international bailout. The final result in the referendum was 61.3% "No", against 38.7% who voted "Yes". Turnout was 62.5%. Thousands of Greeks celebrated in the streets after the vote, waving flags, chanting and setting off fireworks. But European officials and "Yes" supporters have warned the result could see Greece ejected from the eurozone. The euro fell across the board in Asian markets after the referendum.

Greece debt crisis: IMF payment missed as bailout expires
30 Jun 2015
Greece has missed the deadline for a €1.6bn (£1.1bn) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), hours after eurozone ministers refused to extend its bailout. Greece is the first advanced country to fail to repay a loan to the IMF and is now formally in arrears. There are fears that this could put Greece at risk of leaving the euro.

Greek shares fall after latest EU talks break down
15 Jun 2015
Greek shares have fallen sharply after the latest round of talks with EU officials in Brussels broke down without agreement on Sunday. Greek bank stocks were hit hardest on Monday morning with Athens' Stock Exchange FTSE Banks Index falling 10%. Greece's Attica Bank shares fell 12% and Bank of Piraeus shares plunged 15%. Greece must repay more than €1.5bn of loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the end of the month and promise further economic reforms to receive around €7bn bailout funds, which have been delayed by three months amid growing fears the government has run out of money altogether. Talks were reported to have broken up after just 45 minutes on Sunday.

Greek bank deposits fall to decade low
29 May 2015
Greek bank deposits have fallen to their lowest level in more than 10 years, as concerns persist over the country's debt burden and possible exit from the euro. Its banks have struggled to hold on to deposits during the debt negotiations. The Greek government, European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been locked in negotiations for four months over economic reforms the IMF and EU say must be implemented before the latest €7.2bn tranche of the country's bailout fund is released. Greece has to make a payment of €1.5bn (£1.09bn) to the IMF on 5 June.

Greece taps reserves to pay IMF loan
12 May 2015
Greece was forced to tap into an emergency account to make a debt interest payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Greece is believed to have borrowed €650m from its IMF holding account to meet the debt interest payment. Greece also used €100m of its cash reserves to make the full payment on its IMF bailout loan interest.

Greece pushes for urgent Europe bailout deal
05 May 2015
Greek ministers have launched a concerted effort to persuade European officials to release more bailout money as the government runs out of cash. The EU and IMF will not release €7.2bn (£5.3bn; $8bn) until they are satisfied with Greek plans for economic reform. The EU has now slashed its 2015 growth forecast for Greece from 2.5% to 0.5%. The Greek government is desperate to reach a deal with its international creditors before a scheduled €1bn debt interest repayment to the IMF on 12 May, but the two sides have yet to agree on labor reforms and pensions.

Greece anti-bailout leader Tsipras made prime minister
26 Jan 2015
The head of Greece's far-left Syriza party, Alexis Tsipras, has been sworn in as prime minister and is set to lead an anti-austerity coalition government. European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has reminded him of the need to "ensure fiscal responsibility". Congratulating Mr Tsipras on his election win, Mr Juncker said in a tweet: "The European Commission stands ready to continue assisting Greece in achieving these goals." He also referred to "promoting sustainable jobs and growth". The Syriza leader has vowed to renegotiate the bailouts. Eurozone finance ministers are meeting in Brussels to consider how to deal with the new government in Greece.

Greece must 'abide' by bailout terms – Germany
04 Jan 2015
The German government expects Greece to uphold the terms of its international bailout agreement, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel has said. Greece is holding a general election later this month, and anti-austerity party Syriza is ahead in the polls. Syriza wants to renegotiate the terms of its international bailout. The Syriza party, led by Alexis Tsipras, has pledged to reverse reforms imposed by Greece's international creditors and renegotiate its bailout deal.

Greek central bank boss warns of 'irreparable' damage
15 Dec 2014
Greece's economy faces "irreparable" damage from the ongoing political crisis, the boss of its central bank has warned. The political uncertainty has rattled Greek markets over the past week. Greece's economy emerged from a six-year long recession in the first quarter of the year. The size of Greece's economy is still about a quarter below the peak it reached before the severe recession and debt crisis triggered by the global financial crash. Greece's government has warned of a catastrophe if snap elections are called and left-wing anti-bailout party Syriza wins, but Syriza has accused the government of fear mongering.

Greece threatened by power cuts as workers strike
03 Jul 2014
Many parts of Greece are facing power cuts, as workers from the Public Power Corporation (PPC) stage rolling strikes in protest at a government privatization program. The Greek government has said there is "no way" it is abandoning the sale of part of the company. The sale is one of the demands imposed by the EU and IMF as part of a major bailout since the 2008 economic crisis. As many as 13 power plants were not working by Thursday afternoon. The PPC sell-off is seen as vital to Greece's international bailout commitments. Greece has survived for the past four years on two international bailouts totaling 240bn euros (£190bn; $325bn) granted on condition it implements tough austerity measures and sells off state property.

China and Greece sign deals worth $5bn during Li visit
21 Jun 2014
China and Greece have signed business deals worth about $5bn (£2.9bn) during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit. Deals signed covered areas including exports and shipbuilding. China also showed an interest in buying railways and building an airport in Crete. China is eager to take a majority stake in the Piraeus port. A Chinese company already runs two piers at the port. Greece is keen to attract foreign investment to reduce its national debt and high unemployment rate. Not all Greeks are delighted: the opposition says the government is selling the family silver on the cheap.

Greece returns to debt markets with five-year bond
09 Apr 2014
Greece is to sell five-year bonds in the country's first long-term debt sale since its international bailout started four years ago. The news came as thousands of striking Greeks marched on parliament to protest against job and spending cuts. More than 20,000 people marched peacefully through the streets of Athens chanting: "EU, IMF take the bailout and get out of here!" Protestors took to the streets in the port city of Thessaloniki Greeks have lost about a third of their disposable income since the debt crisis started and unemployment has soared, leaving more than one in four without a job.

Greece jobless rate hits new record of 28%
13 Feb 2014
The jobless rate in Greece reached a record high of 28% in November, according to newly released government figures. The rate increased from 27.7% in the previous month. For those under the age of 25, unemployment hit 61.4%. The bleak unemployment numbers are in contrast to a message that the government has been trying to push: that Greece has turned a corner, with six years of recession due to end this year and light on the horizon.

Greek extremist Christodoulos Xiros threatens government
20 Jan 2014
A Greek fugitive who disappeared while on prison leave has threatened the government with armed action, accusing it of ruining the country with austerity measures. Christodoulos Xiros, who was convicted in 2003 of belonging to the far-left November 17 organization, has vowed to return to arms. He was serving six life sentences for bombings and shootings. In a video posted on the internet, Xiros said: "I've decided to fire the guerrilla shotgun against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams for profit. He criticizes the media, the judiciary, the police and the extreme right-wing Golden Dawn party, and invites Greece's security forces to join with him.

Greek economy to shrink for seventh year, OECD says
27 Nov 2013
The Greek economy will keep shrinking next year and may need more financial help, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says. The OECD's forecast of 0.4% contraction contrasts with the Greek government's prediction of 0.6% growth in 2014. The OECD also said the recession in Greece had been "much deeper than expected" and that debt would not fall below 160% of GDP before 2020. It would mark the seventh consecutive year of recession for Greece. Since 2010, Greece has received rescue loans from the International Monetary Fund and European countries. In return, it has pledged to cut its debt and implement economic reforms.

Can China lead Greece out of darkness?
08 Sep 2013
Greek companies are increasing exports to the Chinese market, although they are still only one-twentieth of what China sells here. Chinese tourists are arriving in growing numbers - a welcome boost for Greece's biggest industry. They are two of the world's ancient nations but today Greece and China find themselves at opposite ends of the economic spectrum. The sick man of Europe is increasingly turning to the Asian tiger in its hour of need.

Greek unemployment rate reaches record high in May
08 Aug 2013
Greece's unemployment rate hit another record high in May of 27.6%, according to the country's statistics body, compares with a jobless rate of 23.8% in May last year. The biggest age group without a job remains those aged between 15-24, where the rate is 64.9%. Greece is in its sixth year of recession, and has seen a 25% drop in output since 2007. Greece was given another 6.8bn euros last month from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank. The money has strict conditions that has meant deep job cuts, tax increases, and reductions in wages and pensions. However, more austerity measures are being demanded. The IMF said that Greece must deliver "rapidly on structural reforms to unlock growth and create jobs". The government's actions so far have prompted widespread public anger and protests, which have sometimes turned to violence.

IMF says Greece must deliver reforms at a faster pace
31 Jul 2013
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says Greece needs to take more action to promote growth and deliver promised structural reform. On Monday it backed the next payment of 1.7bn euros (£1.5bn: $2.3bn) after its fourth review of the country. But now it says Greece must deliver "rapidly on structural reforms to unlock growth and create jobs". Greece is in its sixth year of recession, and has seen a 25% drop in output since a 2007 peak, and has an unemployment rate of 26.9%. "Debt sustainability concerns continue to remain a risk," it said.

Greeks go on strike against public sector cuts
16 Jul 2013
Thousands of Greek workers have joined a 24-hour strike called by trade unions to protest against government plans to cut public sector jobs. The government needs to pass the bill this week to start receiving 6.8bn euros (£5.8bn) of fresh bailout loans to keep the country afloat. Hospital services and public transport have been affected by the strike. Demonstrations have been building for several days over the latest set of deeply unpopular austerity measures. Greece's international creditors demanded the cuts in order to approve the latest batch of loans from its international bailout program, as agreed earlier this month.

Asian markets fall amid fears over Cyprus bailout deal
17 Mar 2013
Asian markets have dipped after Cyprus bailout plans triggered fears of an escalation of the eurozone debt crisis. The EU and IMF want all bank customers to pay a levy in return for a bailout worth 10bn euros ($13bn; £8.6bn). The news of the deal caused a rush to the cash machines as people tried to withdraw money. Japan's Nikkei 225 index fell 1.8%, Australia's ASX 200 dipped 1.3% and South Korea's Kospi was down 0.4%.

Cyprus bailout: Parliament postpones debate
17 Mar 2013
Intense negotiations are under way between political parties amid public anger at a one-off levy of up to 10% being imposed on savers. President Nicos Anastasiades who was elected only last month, said refusing the bailout would have led to the collapse of the country's banks. He said that Cyprus had had to choose between the "catastrophic scenario of disorderly bankruptcy or the scenario of a painful but controlled management of the crisis". The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, defended the levy. "I think it's a good step which will certainly make it easier for us to approve the help for Cyprus." As with past eurozone bailouts, the deal must be approved by the lower house of parliament in Germany, the EU's biggest economy. The levy itself will not take effect until Tuesday, following a public holiday, but action is being taken to control electronic money transfers over the weekend.

Greeks in fresh general strike against austerity
20 Feb 2013
Tens of thousands of Greeks are taking part in the first general strike of 2013, as workers renew their protest over austerity measures. The strike shut schools and left hospitals with emergency staffing. Domestic flights and long-distance train services were cancelled. The strikes come days before international lenders are due in the capital to discuss the next installment of a bailout. The debt-ridden country is being kept afloat by billions of euros from other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. In return, the government has imposed waves of unpopular spending cuts and tax rises, hitting pay and pensions and sending unemployment soaring to more than 26%. Strikes and violent protests have become commonplace.

Greece unemployment hits highest rate in European Union
10 Jan 2012
The latest unemployment rate for Greece has risen to 26.8%, the highest figure recorded in the European Union (EU). The official Greek data for October sees Greece overtake Spain as the country with the highest unemployment rate in Europe. The Greek economy remains mired in recession and the government is in the process of imposing significant austerity measures. And with more spending cuts this year, many predict the rate will soon hit 30%.

European workers stage austerity protests
14 Nov 2012
Protesters clash with police in Athens and Madrid, while workers march in Brussels, Rome and Marseille. Workers across the European Union are staging a series of protests and strikes against rising unemployment and austerity measures. General strikes in Spain and Portugal have halted transport, businesses and schools, and led to clashes between police and protesters in Madrid. Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in Spain and Portugal.

Greece's economy shrinks further
14 Nov 2012
The Greek economy shrank 7.2% in the third quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, statistics agency Elstat has said. That was a deeper contraction than the 6.3% fall seen in the second quarter.

Greeks strike against austerity
06 Nov 2012
Workers in Greece have launched a 48-hour general strike across the public and private sectors in protest at a proposed new wave of austerity. Greece must back the measures, and the 2013 budget, to receive the next part of a bailout and avoid bankruptcy. The government must meet a 5bn-euro debt repayment in mid-November and says it needs the bailout cash to avoid going bankrupt. Trains, ferries and international flights were all being cancelled, schools were closed, and hospitals were reportedly open only for emergencies.

Greece recession and debt problems even worse
31 Oct 2012
Greece's draft budget for 2013 has forecast a deeper recession and worse debt problems than previously thought. The economy is expected to shrink by 4.5% next year, and government debts to rise to 189% of economic output. If the forecast proves correct, it would mean that by the end of 2013 the Greek economy would have shrunk by a cumulative 22% since 2008. The expected overspending in 2013 is entirely accounted for by the cost to the government of meeting interest payments on its existing debts. Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has repeatedly opposed any cancellation of the money Greece owes to its bailout lenders, who ultimately include German taxpayers. Greece's two main trade unions have called a 48-hour general strike on 6-7 November to protest against the austerity package. Unemployment in Greece stands at 25% of the labor force.

Greece hit by new general strike over austerity
18 Oct 2012
A general strike is under way in Greece in protest against the next round of spending cuts, required in return for another bailout installment. It is the country's 20th national stoppage since the debt crisis erupted two years ago and comes as EU leaders meet in Brussels. The strike is taking place as European leaders are in Brussels for a summit in which Greece's economic fate is likely to feature large. The country is due to run out of money next month. Greece is in its fifth consecutive year of recession and more than a quarter of its workforce is unemployed. Anger has led to a loss of faith in the state with Greeks increasingly turning to political extremes such as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party.

Greece unemployment hits a record 25% in July
11 Oct 2012
Unemployment in Greece hit a record 25.1% in July, with the level among young people reaching 54.2%, according to the latest official figures. Greece's statistical authority said 1.26 million Greeks were jobless in July, with more than 1,000 jobs lost every day over the past year. With austerity cuts continuing and Greece likely to enter another year of recession, the level may rise further. The Greek economy is surviving on international bailouts, but Athens has been forced to impose tough austerity measures in return for the money.

Greece predicts deeper 2012 recession
01 Oct 2012
Greece is predicting its economy will shrink by much more than previously estimated this year. Its economy will contract by 6.5% this year, worse than a previous estimate of 4.8% in March suggested to its bailout lenders, it said in a draft budget submitted to parliament. Greece also said its economy will shrink for a sixth year in 2013. The deeper contraction in the economy means that Greece will have to find extra money.

Athens clashes as Greek police fire tear gas
26 Sep 2012
Greek police have fired tear gas to disperse anarchists throwing petrol bombs near Athens' parliament on a day-long strike against austerity measures. An estimated 50,000 people joined Wednesday's protests, including doctors, teachers, tax workers, ferry operators and air traffic controllers. Banks and historic sites in Athens remained shut, with many shopkeepers expected to close up early so they could attend demonstrations. Schools and government services also closed down, though buses were still running, reportedly to help ferry people to the protests.

German leaders dismiss call for Greek euro exit
27 Aug 2012
Germany's center-right government has criticized a leading conservative politician for suggesting that Greece will have to leave the eurozone. Christian Social Union leader Alexander Dobrindt, an ally of Mrs Merkel, said he expected Greece to leave the eurozone in 2013. He said he saw "no way round" a Greek exit. He also called the European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi "Europe's currency forger". Mr Weidmann, one of 17 eurozone central bank chiefs involved in ECB policy, said the plans risked making central bank financing "addictive like a drug" for struggling eurozone governments. He warned that it was "close to state financing via the printing press".

Greeks confront crime wave amid austerity
16 Aug 2012
Greece's faltering economy has put many people out of work and cut support for illegal immigrants. Now Greeks are facing a rise in crime their police seem unable to stop. Burglaries increased by almost 50% in the last year. The Greek police have admitted that armed gangs entering the country from neighboring Albania or Bulgaria could have been attracted by reports that many people have been withdrawing cash from banks and stashing it in their homes. Dealing with the new reality has come as a shock to most Greeks, some of whom have begun taking up arms to protect themselves. The ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party now has 18 seats in parliament - evidence of significant support for a party openly hostile to illegal immigrants.

Greece agrees new spending cuts to keep bailout
01 Aug 2012
Leaders of Greece's fragile coalition government have agreed 11.5bn euros (£9bn) in new spending cuts needed to keep its EU/IMF bailout. The cuts were required for Greece to qualify for the next 31.5bn euro installment of the 130bn euro loan. Without the funds, Greece would face bankruptcy and probably leave the euro. The country has received two massive bailouts - one for 130bn euro this March and one for 100bn euro in May 2010 - to allow it to continue payments on its vast public debt and stay in the eurozone. Cuts in public spending, benefits, pensions and public sector salaries imposed as a result of both loans have led to severe economic hardship. The austerity measures are expected to include new reductions in state benefits and pensions.

Greece recession will deepen, says Antonis Samaras
24 Jul 2012
Greece will suffer a much deeper recession than thought this year, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has said. He expects the economy to shrink by 7%, greater than the 5% forecast by the crisis-hit country's central bank. Economists calculate that Greece may need a third rescue package worth up to 50bn euros. However, reports over the weekend suggested that the IMF would refuse calls for further aid.

Asia markets up as Greece voters back pro-bailout party
17 Jun 2012
New Democracy, which came top, has backed the two bailouts of Greece by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund (IMF). There had been fears that if anti-bailout party Syriza had won, Greece could have been forced out of the euro. There were concerns that such a move may spread contagion to other eurozone countries and result in turmoil in the global economy.

Spain and Cyprus ratings cut by Moody's
14 Jun 2012
The credit ratings of Spain and Cyprus have been cut by rating agency Moody's. The move follows a 100bn-euro ($126bn; £81bn) bailout of Spain's banks by fellow eurozone countries agreed over the weekend. Spain's rating was cut three notches, from A3 to Baa3 - one notch above junk. Cyprus' rating fell two notches, from Ba1 to Ba3, pushing it deeper into junk status. Cyprus is expected to seek a bailout of up to 5bn euros, or a quarter of its GDP, in order to finance a rescue of its own banks. The Cypriot banks are heavily exposed to the troubled Greek banking system.

Greeks withdraw money from banks as worries grow
16 May 2012
Greeks withdrew 700m euros ($894m; £560m) from the country's banks in the week ending on Monday. The action comes as fears increase that the country may be forced out of the eurozone and on to a weaker currency. Greece's president Karolos Papoulias said that the central bank governor, George Provopoulos, had said that the banks' situation was very difficult and that the banking system w
as currently very weak, there was great fear that could develop into a panic. In February, Greeks had deposited 16bn euros overseas, including "32% in British banks and 10% in Swiss banks".

EU central bankers ponder Greece euro exit
12 May 2012
Europe central bankers have been openly expressing views on the possibility of Greece leaving the eurozone as its leaders struggles to form a government. Germany's top banker said it was up to the Greeks to decide, but if they did not keep to their bailout commitments, they would receive no new aid. Without financial aid, there is the possibility that Greece will default.

Greek unrest after pensioner suicide beside parliament
05 Apr 2012
Protesters have clashed with riot police in the Greek capital, Athens, hours after a pensioner shot himself dead outside parliament. The 77-year-old man killed himself in the city's busy Syntagma Square on Wednesday morning. In the suicide note, he said: "The government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting, I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don't find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance." Suicides increased by 18% in 2010 from the previous year. The number of suicides in Athens alone rose over 25% last year.

Moody's warns of Greece default despite debt deal
02 Mar 2012
Moody's has cut Greece's credit rating again, citing a risk of default despite a recent debt write-off deal. Moody's cut Greece's rating to "C" from "Ca", the lowest level on its scale. Moody's said: "The risk of a default even after the debt exchange has been completed remains high. The country is unlikely to be able to access the private market once the second assistance package runs out; and its planned fiscal and economic reforms will still face very significant implementation risks." Earlier this week the Standard & Poor's agency classified Greek debt as in "selective default".

Greek MPs pass austerity plan amid violent protests
12 Feb 2012
Greece's parliament has passed a controversial package of austerity measures, demanded by the eurozone and IMF in return for a 130bn-euro ($170bn; £110bn) bailout to avoid default. The vote came amid violent scenes in capital, Athens, and elsewhere, with protesters outside parliament throwing stones and petrol bombs. Police fired tear gas and several buildings were set on fire in Athens. Dozens of police officers and at least 37 protesters were injured.

IMF warns of increased risks to the world economy
17 Jun 2011
The International Monetary Fund has warned that the risks facing the world economy have increased. The fund said it was concerned about the continuing Greek debt crisis, the arguments over US deficit plans and the need to curb growth in Asia. The fund warned that the continuing Greek debt crisis could destabilize the global financial system. Many analysts believe Greece will not be able to pay back all the money it has borrowed.

Greeks stage huge Athens rally against austerity cuts
06 Jun 2011
At least 60,000 protesters angered by cuts and tax rises packed into central Athens as Greek PM George Papandreou planned further austerity measures. It was reckoned to be the biggest demo in 12 consecutive days of protests. The Papandreou government was forced to impose tough austerity measures as a condition for receiving the 110bn-euro bail-out. But the economic pain has triggered widespread protests. The Greek protesters called themselves "Indignant Citizens" - a label borrowed from their Madrid counterparts, known as "los indignados" (the indignant).

Greece general strike: Clashes erupt
23 Feb 2011
Police in Athens have fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators hurling petrol bombs and stones as a 24-hour general strike grips Greece. The violence erupted during a rally by more than 30,000 angry workers near the Greek parliament. They object to the government's far-reaching budget cuts. The strike paralyzed public transport. More than 100 flights were cancelled. Many schools are closed and hospitals have reduced services. Small businesses have joined in, closing many shops.  The Socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is cutting spending and raising taxes to reduce its debt mountain.

Greece transport halts as anti-austerity strike extends
04 May 2010
Austerity measures planned in return for a 110bn euro (£95bn) international rescue package for the debt-struck economy have sparked widespread anger. The measures include wage freezes, pension cuts and tax rises. A general strike has been called across Greece as protests against planned spending cuts and tax rises continue. Trains, planes and ferries are at a standstill as transport workers join public sector workers who began their own 48-hour strike on Tuesday. Germany is to pay the largest proportion of the loans to be made available to Greece.

Eurozone approves massive Greece bail-out
02 May 2010
Eurozone members and the IMF have agreed a 110bn-euro (£95bn; $146.2bn) three-year bail-out package to rescue Greece's embattled economy. In return for the loans, Greece will make major austerity cuts which Prime Minister George Papandreou said involved "great sacrifices". The EU will provide 80bn euros in funding and the rest will come from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The deal is designed to prevent Greece from defaulting on its massive debt.

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