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Greece's wait for aid goes on

Monday, Nov 12, 2012 - 02:20

Greece's parliament has approved the 2013 budget, with more cuts in store. But the euro zone hasn't yet authorised the latest installment of financial aid for Athens, because there is no agreement on how to make its debt sustainable. Joanna Partridge reports

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More uncertainty for Greeks. Their parliament has approved the government's 2013 budget - meaning more austerity measures. But while they've fulfilled their promises the euro zone is dragging its heels. The next 30 billion euros of aid from international lenders still hasn't been agreed despite Greece running dangerously low on cash. SOUNDBITE: Christophoros Constantinou, Broker, saying (Greek): "The mistake is that more emphasis has been placed on austerity and recessionary measures instead of reforms, such as liberalising professions." SOUNDBITE: Dimitra, Greek Pensioner, saying (Greek): "We're going crazy. We have had it. Our kids don't have jobs, we have educated them and they are just sitting around." Euro zone finance ministers meeting in Brussels are deciding when Greece should receive money. They want to be certain the promised reforms are carried out. The main sticking point is making the country's debt sustainable again. It's forecast to reach almost 190% of GDP next year - far worse than originally thought. Peter Dixon from Commerzbank says Greece simply can't cope. SOUNDBITE: Peter Dixon, Global Financial Economist, Commerzbank, saying (English): "Basically what seems to happening is we're going from one bailout to another. That's not going to be enough, ultimately I think Greece is going to have to massively inflate away its debt burden, or more likely I think default. So you know we're making a big noise, a big song and dance about this Greek deal, but frankly I don't think it's going to change the long run picture." There's an ongoing debate about how Athens can reduce its debt. Suggestions on the table include: - cutting interest rates on Greece's official loans, letting the ECB give profits from the Greek bonds it holds back to Athens or bailing out Greek banks with the EU's rescue fund. Adam Myers from Credit Agricole CIB says just giving Athens more time might help. SOUNDBITE: Adam Myers, Senior Market Strategist, Credit Agricole CIB, saying (English): "Any debt maturity extension would ease the pressure on Greece and of course Greek taxpayers, however that also represents what I would call a signal to other European countries that they could also have their terms eased, and I think that is really what the Eurogroup and in particular Germany are trying to avoid." But a decision has to be made in the next few days and for citizens and politicians it can't come soon enough.

Greece's wait for aid goes on

Monday, Nov 12, 2012 - 02:20

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