Greek austerity: A light around the bend?
Protesters demonstrate outside the Greek parliament against the new austerity measures in Athens on November 11, 2012.
European finance ministers are meeting today in Brussels to decide whether Greece will receive its next scheduled bailout payment of $40 billion. To show its commitment to the bailout process, the Greek parliament has passed its 2013 budget, containing significant spending cuts and tax increases.
Since the beginning of the crisis, Greece has slashed $80 billion in spending and its economy has shrunk by 18 percent. Greek leaders have said these are the last round of cuts and are promising to shift their focus to growth and job creation. In the meantime, small and medium-sized businesses, which account for 90 percent of the jobs in the country, are struggling to survive the austerity measures and a sharp decrease in consumer demand.