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Greece Reels as Government OKs More Austerity Measures

February 10, 2012 at 12:00 AM EST
As Greece signed off on a new round of austerity measures in exchange for another bailout, European finance ministers said the cuts may not be enough. James Mates of Independent Television News reports on the start of a two-day strike over the cuts.
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TRANSCRIPT

JEFFREY BROWN: And we turn to the European debt crisis in two parts.

The Greek government has signed off on a new round of austerity measures in exchange for another bailout. But European finance ministers say that may not be enough.

We begin with a report from Athens from James Mates of Independent Television News.

JAMES MATES: They thought they’d done what was required of them, passing another round of cuts to jobs, wages, and pensions, only to be told by the rest of the euro zone, that’s not good enough.

The result was fury in Athens’ central square. Through the trees, policemen, whose wages have been cut under the austerity package, are hit by petrol bombs. Six ministers have already had enough, resigning today from the government. The leader of the smallest of the three parties in the coalition has now withdrawn his support.

“I will not vote for more austerity,” he told a news conference, amid complaints of being trampled by German boots.

That was a theme taken up by one paper here, who put German Chancellor Angela Merkel on its front page in Nazi uniform. That is how strong passions are running.

MAN: I don’t want to leave my country, but I don’t have a future here.

MAN: They have to vote, but not with a gun on their head.

JAMES MATES: The man holding that gun is the chairman of the countries that use the euro, and he’s not loosening the purse strings.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, Eurogroup: We cannot live with a system where promises are made and repeated and repeated, and where the implementation measures are from time to time too weak. So we are insisting on a real, true implementation.

JAMES MATES: And a vote in parliament, possibly as early as Sunday, that will attract another huge demonstration, it may make today’s protests look like nothing more than a warm-up.