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Is a Greek referendum the answer?

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 02:16

Greece demands that euro zone finance ministers acknowledge progress in negotiations as EU paymaster Germany says it could make sense for Greece to hold a referendum on the economic reforms. Sonia Legg reports.

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Anxious times for Greeks - particularly these cleaners. They were sacked by the old government and re-hired by the new one. But could they be about to lose their jobs again as Greece tries to negotiates cash for reforms with EU lenders? The cleaners hope their victory parade will help their case. And they're supported by George Katrougalos - the Deputy Administrative Reform Minister. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ALTERNATE ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM MINISTER GEORGE KATROUGALOS SAYING: "We, as a government of the left, we are restoring labour rights, stability in the work and also that serving the public interest." Greek stocks fell around 3% and two-year Greek bond yields rose ahead of the meeting, as no-one expected a breakthrough. Discussions were focussed on how much progress Greece had made towards reforms rather than a final solution. With the next debt repayment due that's making investors more and more nervous, says IG's Alastair McCaig. SOUNDBITE: Alastair McCaig, Market Analyst, IG, saying (English): "The fact that we are looking at a nation struggling to raise the 750 million euros for its latest debt deadline is worrying in the extreme and we are in the very near term going to hit an unbreakable or fudgeable deadline." One new poll showed more than three quarters of Greeks were in favour of staying in the euro zone. But another one also suggests a similar number want concessions from both sides. A Greek referendum on the reforms is now thought to be a possibility - Germany for the first time says holding one might make sense, despite some optimism from Greece's Finance Minister. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, YANIS VAROUFAKIS, SAYING: "The red lines by necessity are inflexible but our red lines and their red lines are such that there is common ground. (ASKED ABOUT TIMEFRAME FOR AGREEMENT) "In the next few days, I think." Greece's idea of progress would be a statement from its EU partners that allows the European Central Bank to raise the limit on short-term treasury bills. Without access to debt markets - or bailout aid - it'll certainly struggle to pay pensions and wages at the end of the month. Feelings are clearly running high in Athens as the saga drags on. Anti-establishment protesters occupies the offices of German engineering giant Siemens as the meeting took place in Brussels.

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Is a Greek referendum the answer?

Monday, May 11, 2015 - 02:16