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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ministers quit in Greek cuts row

Greece's future in the euro grew increasingly precarious as violence erupted on the streets of Athens during a general strike and five politicians resigned from the government after European leaders demanded deeper spending cuts.

Hours after Greece claimed it had reached an agreement among its squabbling party leaders on new cutbacks, European officials dashed any hopes that the country was close to getting its bailout. Finance ministers said more austerity needs to be agreed and set a deadline for the middle of next week.

If Greece's government fails to meet Europe's demands, the debt-ridden country faces a chaotic debt default next month that would send shockwaves around the world economy and could doom a generation of Greeks to even deeper hardship.

If it does deliver those demands, Europe has committed to give it a e130bn lifeline that would at least postpone Greece's day of reckoning.

The eurozone finance ministers want Greece to find another e325m in savings and say Parliament must vote the austerity through. The fallout was immediate in Athens where thousands of people marched through the streets to protest at the cuts. Clashes broke out, with demonstrators hurling fire bombs at riot police.

Five members of the 48-strong Cabinet have left the government over the past two days because they could not agree to the new demands.

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