Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Seven African countries' economies at risk over Brexit decision

Read more

THE DEBATE

Britain votes out: What next?

Read more

#TECH 24

The 'fintech' revolution

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

A certified 'palace': How hotels strive for excellence

Read more

#THE 51%

In her own image: Women in Art

Read more

REPORTERS

World War I: When northern France was on German time

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#Brexit sparks a storm on social media

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets, pound plunge on Brexit vote

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)