苏州美睫美甲

Greek ministers approve new austerity

Posted on 09/10/2019 | in 苏州美睫美甲 | by

The Greek Cabinet has approved a new round of painful austerity measures and a 50 billion euros ($A68.

南宁桑拿

71 billion) privatisation drive that are essential for the debt-ridden country to continue receiving funds from its international bailout.

Greece is lagging behind with reforms promised in return for last year’s 110 billion euros ($A151.16 billion) package of rescue loans from its European partners and the International Monetary Fund.

Fellow eurozone governments have warned that if the country does not enforce new austerity, it will be cut off from aid.

Without the next 12 billion euros ($A16.49 billion) installment from its rescue loans due in July, Greece, which remains stuck in recession and locked out of international bond markets, will default on its massive debts.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said the plans were submitted to Parliament shortly after their approval.

“The medium term framework includes interventions to achieve a deficit of 7.5 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2011, and broader interventions to reduce the deficit below three per cent of GDP by 2014, and around one per cent for 2015,” he said.

“It also advances the broader privatisation program.”

No specific date has been set for a vote, but Cabinet officials said they expected it to be held before June 28.

The governing Socialists hold a six-seat majority in the 300-member legislature, but many party backbenchers have strongly criticised the new austerity plan – which follows a series of pension and salary cuts last year, accompanied by increases in taxes and retirement ages.

However, none of the disgruntled Socialist lawmakers have openly threatened to vote against the measures.

Once the package is approved, the government will table supplementary legislation on its precise implementation.

Officials say both pieces of legislation must be ratified before Greece can receive the next installment of the EU and IMF loans.

The new plans include a remedial 6.4 billion euros ($A8.79 billion) package of cuts and tax hikes for this year, a renewed 22 billion euros ($A30.23 billion) austerity drive for 2012/15 and the privatisation program.

Officials said all Greeks earning more than 8,000-10,000 euro annually will be charged an extra tax worth up to three per cent of their income every year for the next four years, while the sales tax on restaurants and bars will increase to 23 per cent from the current 13 per cent.

Civil servants and pensioners will suffer more income cuts, while health, education, defence and social spending will be further curtailed.

“We have sought and we have found the fairest possible solution” in the new austerity cuts, Prime Minister George Papandreou said, according to another Cabinet official who was reading from a text of the premier’s remarks.

Eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels on June 20 and EU leaders gathering on June 23-24 are to discuss Greece’s situation.

“We expect the Greek parliament to approve the measures put forward by the Greek authorities in the last review of the troika, so that the euro area finance ministers can take this into account when they decide on the next disbursement,” Amadeu Altafaj-Tardio, a spokesman for the EU’s Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn, said in Brussels shortly before the Cabinet approval.

The pressure on Papandreou and his government is greater than ever, with the country’s international creditors calling for cross-party support for the bailout program and openly criticising the slow pace of reforms.

“After a strong start in the summer 2010, reform implementation came to a standstill in recent quarters,” the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund wrote in a summary of their recent assessment of Greece’s efforts.

The Associated Press obtained a copy on Thursday.

The three institutions, known as the troika, also cited “political risks” to the implementation of the budget cuts and privatisation program in their findings, which were circulated among eurozone finance ministers Wednesday.

Those “doubts on the ability and the willingness of the Greek government and society to persevere in fiscal consolidation, and in restoring competitiveness” are the main reason Greece likely won’t be able to access financial markets again next year, leading to serious financing gaps, the troika concluded.

In the first quarter, Greece’s GDP shrank 5.5 per cent from a year earlier, the national statistical agency said Thursday.

The troika now expects Greece’s economy to shrink by 3.8 per cent in 2011, worse even than the 3.5 per cent recession the EU predicted only in May.

Without the additional measures this year, Greece’s budget deficit would remain above 10 per cent of economic output, the troika said, way off the 7.5 per cent target set out in the program.

The Finance Ministry said the measures would bring the national debt down to 139.5 per cent of GDP by 2015, as opposed to a suffocating projected 198.9 per cent if no measures were taken.

In addition to the recession, the crisis has led to significant job losses, with unemployment in March reaching 16.2 per cent, the highest since monthly data began to be released in 2004.

The protracted pain, with little prospect of respite visible on the horizon, has prompted a series of strikes and protests.

Workers at Greek state-run companies walked off the job Thursday to protest the government’s privatisation plan, which they fear will lead to further job and salary cuts.

Under the slogan “we won’t sell,” they marched through central Athens.

Public transport workers walked off the job in the early morning and late evening, while port workers, post offices and banks called a 24-hour strike. Television station technicians were also on strike, as were journalists at the state-run broadcaster, disrupting live news programing. A general strike has been called for June 15.

Angry Greeks have taken over the central Syntagma Square, setting up a tent city in a sit-in. Tens of thousands of people thronged the square, which lies in front of Parliament, last Sunday.

Comments are closed.

Categories

TITLE

December 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Recent Posts

Default utility Image World stocks retreat on Greek default fear

Stocks plunged and the euro fell on Monday as signs of German impatience with Greek...

Default utility Image Battles as Greece cuts deep

Lawmakers voted 155 to 138 for the hotly-disputed package to slash 28.

Default utility Image Bangladesh floods displace 120,000

Floods in southwest Bangladesh have inundated vast swathes of farmland, affecting nearly a million people,...

Default utility Image Greek ministers approve new austerity

The Greek Cabinet has approved a new round of painful austerity measures and a...

Default utility Image Q&A: The causes of the Somalia famine

While it is true that droughts are an act of nature, there is nothing ...

Recent Posts

Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image Default utility Image

Recent Posts

Default utility Image World stocks retreat on Greek default fear

Stocks plunged and the euro fell on Monday as signs of German impatience with Greek...

Default utility Image Battles as Greece cuts deep

Lawmakers voted 155 to 138 for the hotly-disputed package to slash 28.

Default utility Image Bangladesh floods displace 120,000

Floods in southwest Bangladesh have inundated vast swathes of farmland, affecting nearly a million people,...

Default utility Image Greek ministers approve new austerity

The Greek Cabinet has approved a new round of painful austerity measures and a...

Default utility Image Q&A: The causes of the Somalia famine

While it is true that droughts are an act of nature, there is nothing ...

Tag Cloud