Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos arriving at a meeting with finance eurozone ministers on June 19, 2011
Source: Press TV
Eurozone ministers have postponed an emergency multi-billion-euro loan to debt-ridden Greece, pressuring the country to introduce tighter austerity measures.
During a meeting in Luxembourg, eurozone finance ministers postponed a final draft extending 12 billion euros (USD 17 billion) in emergency loans to Greece, requiring the Greek parliament to pass a new austerity package worth 28 billion euros, Reuters reported.
The delay comes as Greece is expected to pay an installment of last year's 110 billion euro bailout loan from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund by mid-July.
“To move to the payment of the next tranche, we need to be sure that the Greek parliament will approve the confidence vote and support the program, so the decision will be taken at the start of the month of July," Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou asked his country on Sunday to support the austerity plan in order to avoid a "catastrophic default."
The recent request for tougher austerity follows massive nationwide protests and three general strikes against the country's current austerity cuts.
The country has a debt of over EUR 300 billion, which is worth more than 150 percent of its annual economic output.
Since last year, Greece has witnessed massive anti-government protests that have turned violent at times and left scores of protesters and security forces injured.