European leaders meet on next steps for Greece bailout
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JEREMY HOBSON: Most Americans are off work today – but European leaders are meeting to figure out what’s next for Greece. And there are reports that the country may not get its next slice of bailout cash.
Our European Correspondent Stephen Beard joins us live now from London with more on this story. Good morning.
STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Jeremy.
HOBSON: Well why is there any question about this? I thought that the Greeks have already been promised all of their bailout money?
BEARD: Yes, but with strings attached. The EU and the IMF, who are lending the bailout money, have set conditions. And they’ve been in Athens assessing whether or not the government has met those conditions — raising taxes, cutting public spending, and so on — and the answer seems to be no it hasn’t.
In fact, Der Spiegle, the German magazine, says the government in Athens has missed all its targets so may not get the next installment of cast, which would be a disaster.
HOBSON: A disaster, and is it one that’s likely to happen?
BEARD: The EU-IMF assessment is very likely to be quite damning and could well insist that the government knuckle down and impose more austerity more quickly.
But there’s a problem, a big social, political problem. There was a major anti-cuts protest in Athens only yesterday again. Matina Stevis of the Eleftherotypia newspaper says the people just won’t take any more austerity.
MATINA STEVIS: People are disillusioned. They’ve lost all hope. And I feel that there is not much appetite for any other sacrifices on a personal or collective level.
BEARD: We’ll know how much extra pain they’ll be required to take within days. The EU-IMF decision is expected before the end of the week.
HOBSON: Marketplace’s Stephen Beard in London. Thanks Stephen.
BEARD: Okay Jeremey.
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