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Greece

Greek anger despite loan deal

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 02:15

Feb. 21 - Greeks burdened by austerity measures remain angry after finance ministers signed off a new financial bailout to keep the country from default. Sonia Legg reports.

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Greek government austerity sparks protests as Europe seals new bailout deal. They may have been saved from bankruptcy but there was no relief for many Greeks in Athens. Civil servants took part in a protest in the city just hours after the deal was agreed. 15,000 of them will lose their jobs as part of a new austerity programme - the price Greece must pay for a 130 billion euro loan. Pensions and wages must also be further reduced and taxes increased, at a time when Greece is in deep recession. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ACHILLEAS ADAM, PENSIONER 67-YEAR-OLD SAYING: "I am not at all optimistic because I believe this loan will go back into the pocket of those who gave it." (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) CHRISTOS KUTRAS, 65-YEAR-OLD STORE OWNER SAYING: "What money? The money that they bring will be placed in a safe so they can take the interest. They are loan sharks." Greek politicians have agreed to implement the package regardless of who is in power. Many Greeks see that as an attack on democracy. But Professor Dimitris Katsikas from Athens University says it's a price Greece has to pay. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PROFESSOR DIMITRIS KATSIKAS, ATHENS UNIVERSITY SAYING: "I think its a good deal it achieves a target of 120 percent debt to GDP ratio by 2020, so pretty much it fulfils and completes the package that we have been waiting for a long time now. Of course that does not mean that Greece is out of the woods yet." He also believes this is Greece's last chance and there'll be no more money. But he says that doesn't mean Greece is on its own. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PROFESSOR DIMITRIS KATSIKAS, ATHENS UNIVERSITY SAYING: "If Greece shows a good implementation record with this agreement perhaps we can be hopeful of further help coming in the form of growth aid, either from the European Investment Bank, or in some other form." There's certainly no sign of growth at the moment. One in five Greek workers is unemployed and many shops and businesses have closed. It's also feared further unrest could test politicians commitment - and with even bigger protests planned for later this week there's likely to be more of that. Sonia Legg, Reuters.

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Greek anger despite loan deal

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 02:15