Entries in Greek (4)


Greek Workers to Protest New Austerity Measures, Call for Strike

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATHENS, Greece) -- Workers in Greece have called for a strike.  
The country's two main unions, ADEDY and GSEE, covering civil servants and the private sector, respectively, have called for a two-day strike to begin on Nov. 6. The workers called the demonstration, which will take place in central Athens, in objection to new austerity measures worth $17.5 billion. Lawmakers are set to vote on the bill next week.

The decision to strike comes as lawmakers already have approved a bill allowing the privatization of public utilities in a vote that saw dissent from members of the two junior partners in the three-party governing coalition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greek PM: Debt Deal is Only Way to Stay in Euro


(ATHENS, Greece) -- One week after European leaders made an agreement to decrease Greece’s debt and avoid financial meltdown in the Eurozone, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou warned the Greek parliament that the only way to stay in the euro currency is to agree to last week’s deal.

Greece is reportedly softening its opposition to the plan as Papandreou has called off a referendum for the Greek people to vote on the plan, after first announcing the referendum on Monday.

The White House stressed Thursday that, regardless of what happens in Greece, the Eurozone debt deal must be implemented swiftly. On Friday, Papandreou faces a confidence vote in Greece’s parliament.

European leaders have acted quickly to try to avoid a recession. The European Central Bank decreased its benchmark interest rate to 1.25 percent from 1.5 percent on Thursday.

Greece was to receive an installment of 8 billion euros as a loan this month and has said it will run out of money in mid-December otherwise.

The bailout plan would cut in half the privately held Greek sovereign debt, according to Peter Morici, professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School.

“However, to receive this concession and other aid from richer EU governments, Greeks must accept draconian austerity measures,” Morici, the former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, wrote in a note. “These would further drive up unemployment, and shrink Greece’s economy and tax base at an alarming pace, placing in jeopardy eventual repayment of Athens’ remaining debt.”

Morici said the Greeks should accept the bailout and continue in the euro “only if they determine the currency serves them well.”

“As currently constituted, a single currency may serve the One Europe designs of France and Germany, but make Greece and the other Mediterranean states nothing more than the victims of a northern conquest,” he wrote.

World leaders, including President Obama, have urged European leaders during the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, to quickly carry out their agreement and resolve Europe’s financial crisis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Greek PM George Papandreou to Step Down?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CANNES, France) -- Amid conflicting reports that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is preparing to resign, the White House stressed Thursday that, regardless of what happens in Greece, the Eurozone debt deal must be implemented swiftly.

“The steps that need to be taken are clear, again, irrespective of the political personality or situation at any given moment,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters in Cannes when asked about reports that Papandreou is going to step down. “What needs to be done as it relates to Greece, what needs to be done as it relates to stabilizing the Eurozone, was outlined last week and those steps are going to need to be taken going forward, irrespective of, again, where we are at any given moment in a country’s politics.”

While the Eurozone plan currently lacks specificity, White House aides said the situation in Greece highlights the need for a “firewall” to prevent one country’s troubles from spreading elsewhere in Europe.

“The situation there underscores the need to move rapidly...including having a firewall that is sufficiently robust and effective in assuring that a crisis does not spread from one country to another,” Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Mike Froman said. “That has been a consistent message that the President and Secretary Geithner have shared with their counterparts in Europe.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What a Greek Default Could Mean for Americans

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Greece, a small nation in southern Europe, is having an outsized impact on the U.S. economy amid fears among investors that Greece might default on its debt.

The news comes just as the U.S. is seeing some positive signs regarding unemployment benefits and mortgage payment rates.

Fewer Americans applied for jobless benefits in the past three weeks, and more have stayed current on their mortgage payments than at any time since 2006, before the nationwide housing crisis spurred the Great Recession.

This indicates that the U.S. economy is recovering, albeit slowly, even as problems in Europe continue to cool the stock market.

The problems in Greece could lead to these probable outcomes:

If the European economic zone countries come to an agreement to bail out Greece, those countries will have less money to spend on American goods, causing job losses here.

If Greece defaults on its debt, it would mean any entities that bought bonds (banks, governments and private investors) would have to readjust their balance sheets. Those entities had relied on the interest payments paid by Greek bonds to fund other investments and buy goods and services so that money would no longer be there to spend.

If a full default occurred, other troubled countries, notably Spain and Portugal, could also follow suit, leading to a wave of defaults that would severely affect the European zone and could send shockwaves all the way to Wall Street.

Already, Greeks are rioting in the streets and tossing petrol bombs at riot police. They are protesting austerity measures their government has tried to impose as it works to solve its country's debt crisis. Prime Minister George Papandreou has so far failed to put together a cross-party coalition that could come up with a plan to combat the debt.

"Greece has defaulted already," Richard Bove, an analyst at Rochdale Research, told ABC News. "We are arguing about how we are going to handle this default in a way that is least destructive to bank balance sheets."

Although U.S. businesses, even banks, are not severely exposed to Greece's economy, investors worry that if Greece defaults on its debt and leaves investors such as Greek bond holders out in the cold, financial trouble would spread to other troubled European economies, such as Spain's, Portugal's and Ireland's. If the European economy were to implode in a wave of defaults and associated bank failures, it could pull the U.S. economy down as well, since there is a lot of trade between the U.S. and Europe.

"Large European banks are very intertwined with American banks," said Bove. The question becomes, in the worst case-scenario, a wave of defaults, "Will these banks be able to absorb a number of defaults from a number of countries?"

Large country defaults have happened before. Argentina defaulted on part of its external debt in 2002, leading to a decade of economic turmoil for that country. Following the default, Argentina received a crucial loan from the International Monetary Fund in 2003 and restructured its massive debt. Today, Argentina is the third-largest economy in Latin America.

Next week, European leaders will convene a summit to attempt to deal with the crisis, and another meeting is set for July 11.

Europe has far more money as a whole than Latin America, so perhaps it can avoid the worst-case scenario for Greece and help save their own skins -- and ours too.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio