EU agrees to work with Greece over debts

| February 11, 2010
EU agrees to work with Greece over debts

After the summit meeting in Brussels today, EU leaders have agreed to work with Greece to tackle its spiralling debts.

Last week, the Greek Government announced tough austerity measures to tackle the country’s spiralling debt.

The country’s runaway budget deficit is currently more than four times the EU limit of 3%. It currently has the highest debt of the 16-member euro zone and its economy is considered to be the euro zone’s weakest.

Currently, its public debt stands at €300 billion (£268 billion).

Meanwhile, Greece’s debt crisis has weakened the value of the euro, it has lost around one tenth of its value against the dollar since late 2009.

Today, the summit statement said “We fully support the efforts of the Greek government and their commitment to do whatever is necessary, including adopting additional measures to ensure that the ambitious targets set in the stability programme for 2010 and the following years are met.

“We call on the Greek government to implement all these measures in a rigorous and determined manner to effectively reduce the budgetary deficit by 4% in 2010,” it added.

However, the Greek Government’s tough austerity measures have already angered Greek trade unions.

Measures include a public sector pay freeze, a hike in taxes and an increase to the retirement age.

As a result, Greek public sector workers staged a protest yesterday with the closure of schools, grounded flights and hospital walk-outs. A much broader strike is planned later this month.

In related news today, Greece’s national statistics service, NSS, revealed the country’s unemployment rate rose from 9.8% in October to 10.6% in November.

There are now more than half a million people unemployed in the country.

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