Second bailout package for Greece expected
Ministers scheduled to meet at EU headquarters in Brussels
Eurozone finance ministers are expected to approve a $170 billion second bailout package for Greece. The package is intended to keep the European nation afloat from defaulting on its many debts, which would start a domino effect through the rest of the European continent.
Riot police shielded the national assembly. Riots have roiled over the past several months as the Greek populace has been subjected to ever growing austerity cuts that have impacted their quality of life.
Senior officials from eurozone finance ministries and the European Central Bank held a conference call this past weekend to go over the final details of the bailout, including a debt sustainability analysis critical to the International Monetary Fund, or IMF.
For the Greek government, led by technocrat Lucas Papademos, financial aid is needed to meet bond repayments of 18.8 billion U.S. dollars due on March 20.
Papademos flew to Brussels for last-minute preparations as thousands of demonstrators massed in the capital Athens' central Syntagma square.
Riot police shielded the national assembly. Riots have roiled over the past several months as the Greek populace has been subjected to ever growing austerity cuts that have impacted their quality of life. Buildings were torched and looted across the business district of Athens weeks ago after a much larger rally involving tens of thousands.
In addition, there have been demonstrations in many cities across Europe in solidarity with Greek people who have been hit hard in the wake of massive austerity cuts.
Greek parliament last week passed austerity measures worth $4.3 billion in U.S. dollars that included cuts in pension, salaries and tax increases.
Skepticism remains in Germany and other countries that Greece will be able to live up to its commitments. Germany and The Netherlands still need to get the second bailout passed in their respective parliaments.
"At the moment it appears it will go exactly this way," Austrian finance Minister Maria Fekter said.
The overall objective is to reduce Greece's debts from 160 percent of GDP to around 120 per cent by 2020. This is the figure and timeframe that the IMF, ECB and the European Commission, together known as the troika, have established as sustainable.
The IMF has said if the ratio cannot be cut to around 120 percent, it may not be able to help finance the Greek program.
Tim Geithner, the US treasury secretary, has urged the IMF to support the program.
"This is a very strong and very difficult package of reforms, deserving of support of the international community and the IMF," Geithner said.
As per the deal, Greece will also have around 100 billion euros of debt, with private lenders - banks and insurers - taking a 70 percent reduction in the value of their Greek assets.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Eurozone, Greek bailout, European Union, Brussels
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