Timeline: Greece's debt crisis

ATHENS Sun Nov 7, 2010 4:35pm EST

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ATHENS (Reuters) - Here is a timeline of economic events in Greece in 2010.

Jan - Greece unveils stability programme on January 14, saying it will aim to cut its budget gap to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2012 from 12.7 percent in 2009.

Feb - Prime Minister George Papandreou says on February 2 the government will extend a public sector wage freeze to those making below 2,000 euros a month.

-- Greece must refinance 54 billion euros ($66.6 billion) in debt in 2010, with a crunch in the second quarter as more than 20 billion euros becomes due and market yields for Greek debt soar.

-- A one-day general strike on February 24 against austerity measures cripples Greece's transport and public services.

March - EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn asks Greece to take further measures to tackle budget crisis.

-- March 5 - New package of public sector pay cuts and tax increases is passed to save an extra 4.8 billion euros. VAT to rise 2 percentage points to 21 percent; public sector salary bonuses cut by 30 percent; tax on fuel, tobacco and alcohol rise; state-funded pensions frozen in 2010.

-- March 25 - European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet says bank will soften rules on collateral for ECB loans, easing risk of Greek institutions being cut off from funding.

-- Euro zone leaders agree to create joint financial safety net, with IMF, to help Greece and to try to restore confidence in euro.

April - On April 11, euro zone finance ministers approve 30 billion euro emergency aid mechanism for Greece but say Athens has not yet asked to activate plan.

-- April 15 - Greek parliament passes law that seeks to tackle tax evasion and shift tax burden to higher earners.

-- April 21 - Investors dump Greek assets on uncertainly whether rescue funds will come in time. The yield on the benchmark Greek 10-year government bond rises to 8.4 percent.

-- April 22 - Eurostat says Greece's 2009 budget deficit was 13.6 percent of GDP, not 12.7 percent as reported earlier.

-- April 23 - Prime Minister George Papandreou asks for activation of an EU/IMF aid package.

-- April 27 - Standard & Poor's downgrades Greece's credit rating to junk status.

May - On May 1 German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany's private sector will contribute to Greek rescue package.

-- May 2 - Prime Minister Papandreou says Greece has sealed deal with EU and IMF opening door to multi-billion euro bailout in exchange for extra budget cuts of 30 billion euros over three years.

-- The aid package amounts to 110 billion euros over three years and represents first rescue of member of the 16-nation euro zone.

-- May 4/5 - Public sector workers stage 48-hour nationwide strike. Up to 50,000 protest in Athens, and hundreds fight with police. Three people are killed when a bank is set on fire.

-- May 6 - Greek parliament approves latest austerity bill. Around 10,000 students, workers and pensioners converge on parliament.

-- May 9 - The IMF unanimously approves its part of the rescue loans, with 5.5 billion euros being provided immediately.

-- May 10 - Global policymakers install an emergency financial safety net worth about $1 trillion to bolster financial markets and prevent the Greek crisis from danaging the euro.

-- The package consists of 440 billion euros in guarantees from euro zone states, plus 60 billion euros in European debt instruments. EU finance ministers say the IMF will contribute 250 billion euros. -- May 10 - Greek stocks rise by more than 7.5 percent.

-- May 18 - Greece receives a 14.5 billion euro ($18.67 billion) loan from the EU and can now repay its immediate debt, easing global investors' jitters.

June - On June 8 Greece's consumer inflation jumps to a higher-than-expected 5.4 percent in May, its highest since August 1997. -- June 11 - Papandreou vows Greece will not default on its loans. Austerity measures are intended "to exclude default and to exclude exit from the euro zone."

-- June 14 - Moody's cuts Greece's credit rating four notches to Ba1, or junk status, over risks to an EU/IMF bailout package. Greece says Moody's cut is not justified.

-- June 15 - The ECB says it will apply a 5 percent extra charge to Greek government bonds used as collateral in lending operations following the downgrade.

July -Greek parliament passes pension reform on July 7, a key requirement of the EU/IMF deal, which cuts benefits, curbs widespread early retirement, and raises women's retirement age from 60 to match men at 65.

Aug - On Aug 5 EU and IMF inspectors give Greece the green light for a fresh 9 billion euro tranche from the mammoth bailout, saying Athens is on track to meet its fiscal targets this year and has mustered the political will to implement reforms.

-- Aug 20 - The European Commission warns that in order to slash its budget deficit to 8.1 percent of GDP in 2010, Greece must offset weaker-than-expected tax revenue growth by keeping spending 4 billion euros below an original target.

-- Aug 24 - Greece's debt agency (PDMA) says it will switch from quarterly to monthly T-bill auctions starting from September.

-- Aug 25 - Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou says economy will contract less than an official 4.0 percent forecast this year.

Sept - Greek Prime Minister announces a cabinet reshuffle on Sept 7, less than a year since coming to power. He keeps his finance minister.

-- Oct - The 2011 budget draft submitted to parliament on October 4 pledges to cut the 2011 budget deficit faster than agreed in the IMF/EU bailout deal, vowing another year of tough austerity.

-- Nov 7 - Papandreou steps back on threat to call national elections after local polls give the support he feels he needs to push through austerity plans.

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