EU Announces Deal With Greece On Fiscal Reforms

Posted June 23rd, 2011 at 8:25 pm (UTC-5)
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European Union leaders say they have reached an agreement with Greece on economic and fiscal reforms that will help the embattled country avoid bankruptcy.

The European Commission issued a statement early Friday, saying the commission, the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and Greek authorities have reached a satisfactory agreement on a set of measures to close the fiscal gap for the years 2011-2014.

EU leaders and Greece's creditors said the deal needs to be translated into concrete legislative measures by the end of June, before they pay the next installment of loans, worth $17 billion, from last year's promised $160-billion bailout funds.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said privatization and fiscal consolidation are indispensable for Greece. He also called for measures to stimulate jobs and growth in the country.

Greece's new finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, met Thursday with inspectors from the commission, the European Central Bank and IMF to discuss the austerity bill, which must be passed by parliament next week if the country is to receive crucial bailout funds.

Greek unions on Thursday called for a two-day general strike next week against the $40-billion austerity package, the latest in sometimes violent protest actions against the tough reform measures.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's government won a crucial confidence vote in parliament Wednesday.

The same day, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said much more than the future of Greece is at stake, adding that failure to resolve the debt crisis in Greece could threaten the global financial system.