Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Next stop, Westminster: Supreme Court orders Brexit parliament vote (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Iranian women push boundaries through sport

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Crowds, Lies & Alternative Facts

Read more

ENCORE!

Backstage at the Haute Couture show of designer Julien Fournié

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

President Trump pulls US out of TPP trade deal

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Donald Trump is rolling back the clock on diversity in the cabinet'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Did France's left inflate turnout figures in round one of the primary?

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Dozens killed in attack on military camp in Mali

Read more

Europe

Strike over austerity plans shuts down Athens transport

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-01-17

Striking workers disrupted transport in Athens Tuesday, halting the metro and ferry systems to protest against austerity plans, as EU, IMF and European Central Bank officials began reviewing Greek accounts ahead of a planned €130 billion rescue deal.

REUTERS - Striking Greek workers brought the Athens metro to a standstill on Tuesday and kept ferries docked to protest against austerity as the country's lenders visited Athens to try to avert a disorderly debt default.

EU, IMF and ECB officials start combing through Athens' books on Tuesday as part of efforts to put together a 130-billion-euro rescue package that Greece needs to stay afloat when a major bond redemption comes due in late March.

Greeks have been hit hard by tax hikes and wage cuts meant to put the Mediterranean nation's finances back on track with a first bailout agreed in 2010. Greece has entered its fifth consecutive year of austerity-fuelled recession, with unemployment reaching a record high of 17.7 percent.

No ferries left from Athens' main ports on Tuesday, buses will only work part of the day, bank employees are also expected to walk off the job and labour unions will stage rallies to coincide with the start of the EU/IMF visit.

"We demand that austerity policies are abandoned and that the legislation that crushes our labour and insurance rights and turns workers into slaves is abolished," the EKA labour union, which represents workers in Athens, said in a statement.

The EU/IMF inspection visit is closely linked with Athens' efforts to agree with banks on a deal to slash its debt of over 350 billion euros by 100 billion euros.

Without the so-called "PSI" deal, which would see creditors voluntarily giving up a lot of their promised returns, the EU and IMF have warned they will consider that Athens' debt is not on a sustainable track and will not release further aid.

The EU/IMF bailout plan would include money to recapitalise Greek banks, which hold a big chunk of their country's debt.

One diplomat said: "If the PSI is successful you will need transfusion for the Greek banks, and for that you need money from the bailout plan."

Athens is running out of time and needs an agreement with banks within days to avoid going bankrupt when 14.5 billion euros of bond redemptions fall due on March 20.

But talks broke down on Friday over the interest rate on new bonds Greece will offer and a plan to enforce investor losses. Negotiations were suspended until Wednesday, and Athens sent senior officials to Washington to consult with the International Monetary Fund.
 

Date created : 2012-01-17

  • GREECE

    Crucial talks on Greek debt close to collapse

    Read more

  • GREECE

    Greece passes 2012 budget amid protests

    Read more

  • Greece

    Greece's new government presents austerity budget

    Read more

COMMENT(S)