More uncertainty looms after Greek cuts

A protester holds a Greek flag as demonstrators clashed with riot police in front of the Parliament in Athens on February 12, 2012. Even though the cuts passed, more uncertainty in on the horizon for the troubled country.

Adriene Hill: Greeks rioted over the weekend, burning dozens of buildings. That's as the country's parliament voted to accept another round of austerity measures that include cuts to civil service jobs and minimum wage. The cuts are the latest condition for a $170 billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

But the danger of default is still there. We have Stephen Beard from the Marketplace European desk in London.


Stephen Beard: The vote by the parliament is, on the face of it, a resounding win for the Greek Government. After much arm twisting, it passed the painful austerity measures by an overwhelming majority.

But this is certainly not the end of the crisis, says Greek economist and attorney Nick Skrekas.

Nick Skrekas: While you can vote all the lovely laws you want, in Greece some times these laws are not implemented very well at all.

This bailout would be Greece's second. Many of the promises it made to get fthe first one in 2010 have still not been delivered. Greece's European partners are wary. They meet on Wednesday to review the new commitments. They may agree to pump just enough money into Greece to prevent a default next month.

But, says commentator John Psarapoulos, more uncertainty will loom after Greece's general election in April.

John Psarapoulos: Will a new governing coalition which will likely be headed by conservatives religiouslyt stick to the spirit and the letter of what will be signed with the creditors? It remains to be seen.

The EU and the IMF distrust Greece so much that they're calling for two guarantees. They want the country's two main party leaders to sign a solemn pledge that they will carry out what they've agreed. And they're proprosing that any bail out funds be put into an escrow account and only paid out when the Greeks make good on their promises.

In London, I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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