Bailing Out Greece

A meeting was held in Athens on Friday by the troika (the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank) to discuss aid to Greece. They agreed in principle to offering a second €12 billion as part of the overall aid package to the country. This is a piece of the €110 billion total bailout that has been pledged to the failing country.

More Austerity Measures

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou pledged even stronger austerity measures as part of the agreement reached on Friday. In addition, he pledged to create a specialized agency to manage accelerated asset sales.

In a statement, EU economy commissioner Olli Rehn said, “We remain open to explore possibilities for further and reinforced assistance should there be a need, for instance in taxation and privatisation matters.”

Waiting for Approval

The money has not yet been fully approved for release to Greece, however. The decision has to be approved, still, by the political leaders in Europe. Most assume, however, that this money will go through and that it will be approved.

Many economists have criticized the bailout, saying that debt restructuring would help with Greece’s economic problems much more than will ever-increasing financial aid.

Tensions in the area have been increasing, as well, as the people in Greece have been conducting anti-austerity strikes and protesting throughout the country. Since May 25th, large crowds have been congregating each night in Athen’s central Syntagma Square. On Saturday night alone, an estimated 50,000 people gathered to shout at the parliament building and bang pots and pans. They were shouting “thieves! thieves!”

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