Saturday, June 25, 2011

EU leaders pass Greece rescue package

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso participate in a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on June 23, 2011.

Source: Press TV

As consensus has been reached among EU members, the IMF and the Greek government on budget cuts and tax increases, Eurozone leaders agree on a fresh rescue package for Greece to fend off a financial crisis.

The leaders of all 27 EU member states also called on Greek lawmakers to "complete work on outstanding elements to allow the necessary decisions to be taken by early July," AFP reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, following a two-day summit in Brussels, Athens formally requested financial aid.

"We've got the support of our partners and I think this is not only a green light but also a positive sign for the future of Greece," Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said.

Despite weeks of protests against the government's austerity measures, the Greek cabinet approved a new austerity budget plan on Wednesday to help ease its massive public debt.

The 2012-2015 austerity budget plan has been a key requirement of the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release the next tranche of debt funding worth 12 billion euros ($17 billion), part of a 110-billion-euro rescue package agreed on last year.

The new plan is worth some EUR 28 billion and includes a privatization program aimed at raising EUR 50 billion and further budget cuts as well as tax hikes.

Greece has a debt of over EUR 300 billion, which is equivalent to more than 150 percent of its annual economic output.

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