April 28 (Reuters) - Here is a timeline of economic events in Greece in 2010.
Jan. 2010 - Greece unveils a stability programme on Jan. 14 saying it will aim to cut its budget gap to 2.8 percent of GDP in 2012 from 12.7 percent in 2009. Unions protesting against the austerity plan announce strikes for February.
Feb. 2010 - Papandreou says on Feb. 2 the government will extend a public sector wage freeze to those making below 2,000 euros a month for 2010, excluding seniority pay hikes.
-- Feb. 3 - The EU Commission says it backs Greece’s plan to reduce its budget deficit below 3 percent of GDP by 2012 and urges Greece to cut its overall wage bill.
-- Greece must refinance 54 billion euros in debt in 2010, with a crunch in Q2 as more than 20 billion euros becomes due. A 5-year bond issue in January is five times oversubscribed but the government has to pay a hefty premium.
-- A one-day general strike on Feb. 24 against the austerity measures cripples Greece’s transport and public services.
-- An EU mission to Athens with IMF experts delivers a grim assessment of the nation’s economy on Feb. 25.
March 2010 - EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn asks Greece to announce further measures to tackle its budget crisis.
-- March 5 - New package of public sector pay cuts and tax increases is passed by the government to save an extra 4.8 billion euros. The measures include raising VAT by 2 percentage points to 21 percent, cutting public sector salary bonuses by 30 percent, increases in tax on fuel, tobacco and alcohol, and freezing state-funded pensions in 2010.
-- March 11 - Public and private sector workers strike.
-- March 15 - Euro zone finance ministers agree on a mechanism that will allow them to help Greece financially if needed, but reveal no details.
-- March 19 - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urges EU member states to agree a standby aid package for Greece.
-- March 25 - European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet says that the ECB will extend softer rules on collateral, easing the risk of Greek institutions being cut off from funding at the end of 2010.
-- Euro zone leaders agree to create a joint financial safety net, with the IMF, to help Greece and to try to restore confidence in the euro. Under the accord, Athens will receive coordinated bilateral loans from other countries that use the euro and money from the IMF, but only if all states agree to the bailout and if it has exhausted its borrowing options.
April 2010 - On April 11 Euro zone finance ministers approve a giant 30-billion-euro ($40 billion) emergency aid mechanism for Greece but stress Athens has not requested the plan be activated yet.
-- April 13 - ECB policy makers give the thumbs-up to the euro zone’s rescue package as the country passed a key test of its ability to raise fresh funds.
-- April 15 - EU monetary chief Olli Rehn says there is no possibility that Greece will default on its debts and no reason to doubt Germany’s commitment to an EU pledge to help.
-- Parliament adopts a tax reform bill, backing government moves to tackle tax evasion and shift the fiscal burden to higher-income earners as Athens.
-- April 21 - Greece starts talks to hammer out details of a potential aid deal but investors dump Greek assets on a lack of clarity over whether the funds would come in time. Germany’s opposition Social Democrats say they oppose “fast-track” approval for the deal in parliament. The yield on the Greek 10-year bond rises to 8.4 percent.
-- April 22 - Moody’s Investors Service downgrades Greece’s sovereign rating by one notch to A3, placing it four notches above speculative, or “junk” status.
-- Greece posts a budget deficit of 32.34 billion euros or 13.6 percent of GDP in 2009, not the 12.7 percent it had reported earlier, Eurostat says.
-- April 23 - Prime Minister Papandreou asks for the activation of an EU/IMF aid package aimed at pulling the euro zone member out of a debt crisis in what could be the largest state bailout ever attempted.
-- April 25 - Papaconstantinou says bailout talks with the IMF and European partners in Washington go well and he is confident Greece will secure help in May to finance its debt.
-- April 26 - Striking dockers and protesters at Greece’s largest ports in the first strike since Athens asked its euro zone peers for a bailout.
-- April 27 - Standard & Poor’s downgrades the credit rating of Greece to junk status.
-- April 28 - Bank stocks jump as much as 6.2 percent after securities regulator says it has banned short-selling in Greek shares on the Athens bourse until June 28. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit and Renee Maltezou, Athens bureau;)
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